Councillor Survey Question 5

Over the next four years, should the City spend less in absolute terms, increase spending but by less than the rate of inflation and population growth, increase by the rate of inflation and population growth, or increase faster than the rate of inflation and population growth?

Janise Somer:

Our population is not growing. We will need to adjust budgets and taxes to keep up with inflation.


Brenda Campbell:

I support increasing spending but by less than the rate of inflation and population growth. I feel we need to get on top of budgetary situations and invest for future growth and needs - ideally being able to capitalize on dividends or other investment equity.


Bruce Buruma:

We need to respect taxpayers. I would want to maintain current tax levels but if there is a clear need, I would support increasing spending but by less than the rate of inflation and population growth (or loss) as we adjust to new fiscal realities for the City. With significant uncertainty over the economy and funding from other levels of government, we will need to have a full understanding of finances. Thankfully the budget for next year is set, so the new Council will have time to fully understand and appreciate the City’s finances. No doubt some tough decisions are needed to balance our finances. That will help drive future decisions. The province has announced a 25% reduction for municipal infrastructure spending which will have a significant impact on the City. Uncertainties like these will require strong stewardship by Council


Kraymer Barnstable:

I would prefer the city spend less in absolute terms, but I would also be fine if spending increased below the rate of inflation and population growth. More spending results in higher taxes or more debt or both. Coming out of this pandemic that is the last thing we need.


Victor Doerksen:

My general approach is that people and governments should live within their means. As above, until I have a detailed review of the budget, I am not going to commit to one approach. Inflationary pressures, burgeoning deficits, and mounting debt at all levels of government are likely to “throw a wrench” into the best laid plans.


Dianne Wyntjes:

With the local state of economy, recognizing the rate of inflation and where the City and community will be in 2022 during a budget review to bring all new Council members up-to-date on operating and capital budgets, it is important to acknowledge the rate of inflation. It’s also important to recognize that Alberta has lost population growth over the last year. And while Red Deer has not completed a census in the last few years, there is also increased competition among all Alberta municipalities to retain and welcome new citizens. As stated above, effective and good municipal operations mean regular review of services and looking to innovation, change and cost savings where possible, appropriate and if it makes sense/cents for Red Deer. There are also areas through the Regional Collaboration Committee with Red Deer County where possibilities exist for shared services and cost savings for both municipalities. I have come to recognize if a City does not, at the very least, keep pace with inflation, the Council of the day will be adding to future municipal challenges and governance decisions that will need to be addressed for Red Deer and citizens.


Chad Krahn:

The City currently operates within the framework that a 2% increase every year is absolutely necessary for the proper function of the municipality. Prior to this year, every time a 0% tax increase was proposed the warning was that this would result in a much higher percentage increase in the subsequent years, which is what has happened in the past. I believe the city needs to find a way to get out of the cut services or raise taxes paradigm. We need to be finding more innovative ways to deliver services; by asking the front lines for ideas, we can find little bets that we can take to do things better. Rather than just ‘finding efficiencies’, we need to be examining the why of how and why we provide services and make sure that the city’s efforts are focused on creating wealth for the community. Ultimately, I believe it will be a big struggle for the next council just to increase spending at less than the rate of inflation (which may be significant) and population growth (which hopefully increases).


Ryan Laloge:

This is not the relevant question, it implies an academic approach to funding the City. Not all in our City get rate of inflation raises.


Vesna Higham:

This one’s easy: spend less in absolute terms. With skyrocketing Federal/Provincial debt and rising inflation, it’s critical that government everywhere (but particularly municipal governments, who have essentially only one major revenue stream: property tax) rein in spending and prioritize tax dollars on the most essential amenities and services.


Cindy Jefferies:

Spending less in absolute terms results in a cut in services. For me, that can be done for a very short period, but eventually, we pay the price. For instance, I am thinking about maintenance on infrastructure. We can defer in the short term, but if we wait too long the costs will be higher, or the asset decreases in value. I am most comfortable with increase by inflation and population growth. I am cognizant of the current state of our economy and possible inflationary pressures. We need to be mindful of this in budgeting and planning.

Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.
Secured Via NationBuilder