Airdrie's capital grant from Province falls $1.1M short
School requisition portion of property taxes to increase by 21%
The City of Airdrie will receive $7.86 million in capital funding under the Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) program, $1.14 million less than staff projected.
The announcement was made to the City after the Alberta 2013 Budget was tabled, March 7.
“Going into 2013, what we planned for in capital MSI was $9 million,” said Lucy Wiwcharuk, Airdrie’s director of corporate services.
She added the actual amount remained close to last year’s allocation.
“It affects what you planned, you might not be able to do as many things as quick as you had planned.”
According to City Manager Paul Schulz, several months ago the Province indicated Airdrie would receive about $9 million.
Alberta’s 2012 budget forecast for 2013 included $1 billion for municipalities.
In actuality, local governments will be sharing about $896 million in capital and operating funding under the program.
Airdrie Mayor Peter Brown said it is too early to tell exactly what the capital shortfall will mean.
“It just means that we are going to have to spend less and potentially put something off. It is hard to determine what that might be,” he said.
“We didn’t know it would be that significant on the capital side.”
He added the Province is moving ahead with regional cooperation initiatives, although details are not yet clear on what funding may be available.
Wiwcharuk explained the City will draw on funds from next year’s budget to meet the capital project commitments it made in its 2013 budget, approved Dec. 17.
Airdrie City council approved its 2013 capital budget with $24 million in projects, including $9.4 million for phase three of Genesis Place, $3.3 million for Bert Church Theatre renovations, $900,000 in ICE buses and $3.7 million on a section of Yankee Valley Boulevard from East Lake Boulevard to Kings Heights Gate.
Airdrie will also receive $597,964 in MSI operating funds, slightly less than the $601,000 the City had budgeted for.
“We are OK on the operating side,” said Wiwcharuk.
She said the money has been earmarked for operating costs of parks and recreation areas in the city.
According to City Manager Paul Schulz, funding in most other areas, including policing and Family and Community Support Services, remained fairly close to last year’s numbers.
Wiwcharuk confirmed the numbers for the City’s portion of the Basic Municipal Transportation grant, which is used to fund roadways and transportation systems, will stay about the same.
In 2012, Airdrie received $2.63 million for this grant. This year the City will receive about $2.7 million.
Budget 2013 increased the Province’s allocation to GreenTrip funding from $93 million to $200 million.
The money will be shared by municipalities across the province, but Schulz said it is not yet clear how much Airdrie will receive.
“There is more money on the table for transit and transportation projects but of course we don’t know how that will be allocated,” he said.
He added a good portion of the City’s transit services were funded by phase one of GreenTrip funding in 2010.
Schulz said if it receives some of the GreenTrip funding, the money would likely go towards purchasing new buses or building a bus terminal.
Council approved a 2.84 per cent property tax increase, an increase of $3.40 per month for the average home in Airdrie, for its 2013 budget.
According to Schulz, that number won’t change.
However, according to Brown, the Province has removed the 12 per cent cap on the assessment growth and will increase the school requisition portion of the property taxes.
As a result, educational property taxes have increased by 21 per cent.
The result will be an increase in property taxes of about $80 a year for the average Airdrie household, which will be added onto Airdronians’ tax bills this spring.