At a time when Calgarians face a tax hike for the coming year, their neighbours to the east will see some relief in 2019.
Chestermere’s city council voted Tuesday to cut the 2019 municipal tax rate by two per cent, crediting organizational efficiencies for the cut.
Mayor Marshall Chalmers said the process began early this year following the local election, when council set a strategic plan that included a goal to mitigate tax increases.
“Our community had a very loud cry for council to take a hard look at the taxes, and try and do better but maintain services,” Chalmers said.
“Our economy’s under attack. That goes for everybody in the region. We really have no federal support to address it. In Chestermere, our council has heard the concerns of our community and our belt-tightening is really in response to those concerns.”
Through the work of a new chief administrative officer, Chalmers said the city set out to “reduce overlaps built up over the years.” The tax decrease resulted from efficiencies found in the city’s organizational structure, personnel adjustments and realigned projects.
“There might be three or four different departments that were responsible for hosting community events and that type of thing,” the mayor explained. “It’s about breaking those silos down and finding the efficiencies through getting one area responsible overall, versus each silo having their own. It was just a matter of them going in and finding where those overlaps were.”
That meant staffing cuts, and staffing moves, were necessary.
“There has been some exodus but there’s also been some realignment of personnel,” said Chalmers. “It’s about getting the right number of people in the right places, and the right people in the right places.”
Last week, Calgary’s council voted to approve a four-year budget that will see homeowners and businesses taxed at different rates as the city attempts to dig out from a $12-billion hole in downtown office tower values.
Homeowners are expected to see a property tax hike of 3.45 per cent next year, while businesses face a 1.42 per cent increase.
Despite the tax break in Chestermere, Chalmers said residents won’t face a service decrease in 2019.
While he cautioned there’s no guarantee of future tax cuts, the city is not done looking for ways to be more efficient. That could eventually affect service levels, he added.
“We’ll get our house in order, and then as we do that then we can start having that honest discussion with the community. We can have that discussion and the community then starts to decide on what is the service level that you’re looking for, recognizing that there’s dollars tied to it,” Chalmers said.
“We continue our rapid growth, but now we’re setting the stage to do that in a sustainable way.”
Note from WSOE.Org : This content has been auto-generated from a syndicated feed.