Airdrie City council approves 2021 budget with no tax increase

Story by Stacie Gaetz


Photos by iStock

Airdrie City council approved the 2021 operating and capital budgets with a zero per cent tax increase on Dec 7.

“We know that many families and businesses in our community are experiencing financial difficulties,” says Mayor Peter Brown.

“City revenue has been significantly impacted by COVID-19 and I believe this budget balances the need for revenue to provide services to the city with the current economic climate.”

Council approved an operating budget of $158,981,630 and a capital budget of $17,110,500.

COVID-related revenue loss for 2021 is about $5.55 million and additional COVID expenses are expected to cost the City $574,000.

According to a City press release, expense reductions of $3.5 million have been made to offset COVID-related losses. Government operating relief dollars of $1.8 million as well as $1.3 million from the City’s General Operating Reserve have been used to help bridge the budget gap.

“The onset of the pandemic required an immediate change in focus. With significant projected revenue loss and increased expenditures, the first priority was to manage the effects of the COVID-19 situation,” says Lucy Wiwcharuk, director of corporate services for the City.

“Dealing with a significant drop in growth revenue was the secondary priority. The 2021 budget includes measures to maintain revenue levels necessary to deliver current city services.”

The overall effect to the average residential homeowner with an assessed value of $385,000 is projected to be an increase of $76 annually or $6.33 per month in 2021.

Overall Effect on the Average Airdrie Resident Annual Effect Monthly Effect
Electrical Franchise Fee (2% increase from 18% to 20%) $17 $1.42
Municipal Tax (0% tax increase) $0 $0
Environmental Services (water, sewer and waste management) $59 $4.92
Total Cost $76 $6.33


Utility fees cover the cost of water, sewer and waste management. Utility rates will be increasing slightly in 2021.

A two per cent increase to the Fortis franchise fee was approved. Franchise fees are similar to rent that utility companies pay for being allowed to access City land and to provide exclusive service within City boundaries. This fee is passed on to residents by service providers.

Tax Stabilization
A one per cent year over year increase ($630,000) will go directly to the tax stabilization fund. These funds will be used to keep tax rate increases stable in future years when operating costs for the new library facility, the City’s fourth fire hall and the new west side recreation centre get added into the operating budget.

Capital Budget and Capital Replacement Reserves
Over the next three years, the City’s capital spending is projected to be $142 million. In 2021, major capital spending will include the downtown core infrastructure rehabilitation, sewer collection system rehabilitation and recurring road rehabilitation. The 2022 and 2023 capital plan has been accepted for information by council and includes major projects such as the new library, fire hall and progress towards a new recreation facility.
The 2021 budget includes $630,000 that will go directly into the General Capital Reserve. These dollars will help ensure rehabilitation and renewal of City assets can occur in future years.

Budget Process
Each year, City administration prepares a three-year operating budget and a ten-year capital budget driven by council’s strategic priorities and business plan goals. During annual budget deliberations, the Council Budget Committee reviews the first year of each budget in detail and reviews subsequent years for possible new services, facilities or other pressures on the horizon. The current year of each budget is adopted by council, with subsequent years accepted for information.
To view complete budget information and budget presentations, click here.