This week, City Council received presentations on the Fall 2023 Supplemental Capital and Operating Budget Adjustments.
City Administration has brought forward budget adjustments to resolve funding gaps that have emerged throughout the year stemming from arbitrated police salary settlements, as well as negative variances associated with gas franchise fees, higher utility prices, and lower transit revenues. This amounts to a 2.13% increase. 1.63% of the 2.13% increase is associated with police funding increases. If nothing changes, this year's tax rate would shift from 4.96% as budgeted to 7.09%.
Right now, Edmontonians are facing increased financial pressures, and the cost of living is going up faster than it has in a generation. The City is facing similar rising costs, including increases to base costs and utilities, primarily due to inflation. Revenue shortfalls, downloading of responsibilities from other orders of government, and the rapid growth of our city are creating additional pressures, making it challenging to deliver the service quality Edmontonians expect at manageable tax rates for households and businesses.
As we enter a challenging budget adjustment, Council will need to exercise restraint and stay focused on key priorities, like protecting public services, improving housing and transportation options, and investing in the core city services and infrastructure you rely on and expect.
I remain committed to working with my Council colleagues to minimize the proposed tax impact, while striving to make life in our communities more affordable, equitable, and sustainable.