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Business Items   Item #:
Committee of the Whole Meeting Agenda
2019 - 2021 Recommended Corporate Plan - Cotterill
Strategic Vision Element:
This topic relates to all three of the City’s strategic vision elements contained in Council’s Strategic Plan
Request for Decision Summary
Administration brings forward a Recommended Corporate Plan to Council’s Committee of the Whole each year which outlines the investments required to support existing service levels as well as new investments in programs and resources that are needed to meet the needs of a growing community and regional obligations. Committee is requested to provide clear input into desired amendments so that a final recommended plan can be brought to Council for adoption as the 2019 budget and Corporate Plan.
That the deliberations and Committee input on the recommended 2019 - 2021 Corporate Plan and amendments be brought to Council as recommendations for consideration.
The Municipal Government Act R.S.A. 2000 c M-26 (Financial Administration Part 8) requires a Council to adopt an operating budget and a capital budget for each calendar year. The Act also requires, among other requirements, that the budget must include estimated amounts needed to provide for the council’s policies and programs and financial obligations. It must also include estimated amounts for sources of revenues and transfers to surplus. Furthermore, a municipality must prepare a written plan respecting its anticipated financial operations for the next 3 financial years and a written plan for anticipated capital property additions over a period of at least the next 5 financial years.
The City of Spruce Grove's Corporate Plan provides Council with a comprehensive operational and capital plan and operating and capital budgets for both municipal and utility services. The Corporate Plan is the principal guiding document for governance, community development, and service delivery.
The annual Corporate Plan is developed through a well-defined process. Council’s direction for this proposed plan was sought through Council’s strategic planning session and the update of the 2018–2035 Strategic Plan which was adopted by Council on 26 April 2018. The Strategic Plan itself was approved by Council in 2014 with a view of establishing a guiding document for a 20 year planning horizon. The plan was prepared with community input and is intended to work in concert with other major planning documents, such as the MDP and master plans. The intent is that the Strategic Plan be implemented through initiatives and service changes identified in annual corporate plans.
Operational requirements are identified over a three year horizon while capital planning initiatives are anticipated over the next 20 years. Council only approves the first year of the budget; the other years are provided for planning and contextual purposes.
The 2019–2021 Corporate Plan reflects the impact of the expectations of a growing community. Over the term of this corporate plan, the population of Spruce Grove is anticipated to grow at an average annual rate of over 3.8 per cent. Balancing the need to deliver services to a growing community with the need to facilitate new opportunities continues to be challenging with the City’s current resources. The primary drivers in prioritizing and balancing the 2019–2021 Corporate Plan were the impacts on capacity of staff resources and providing residents with quality service at an affordable rate, with continued emphasis on commercial and industrial attraction and development. The majority of the initiatives and service changes recommended in the corporate and department business plans directly relate to the growth and development of the city. There is also a need to invest in the on-going viability of the corporation which supports the continued delivery of services. Departmental business plans reflect the contributing activities of City departments.
The primary drivers in prioritizing and balancing the initiatives and service changes in the Recommended Corporate Plan were managing the impacts on capacity of staff and resources and providing residents with quality services at an affordable rate. Service changes were prioritized first to respond to capacity challenges. Planning assumptions and timelines, funding strategies and revenue sources were all considered to minimize the requirement for property tax and utility rate increases.
The fiscal plan reflects the financial requirements to support existing services and recommended new initiatives and service changes. The financial requirements include revenue, expenses and tangible capital acquisitions.
Administration is seeking feedback from Committee on the recommended corporate plan and on any amendments to the plan.
In April, the Committee received public presentations from residents and community groups outlining the priorities they feel are important to consider in preparation of the corporate plan.
After Committee's review of the recommended corporate plan, Council is scheduled to consider approval of the 2019–2021 Corporate Plan at the Council meeting on 26 November 2018. The plan, once approved by Council, is effective January 1, 2019.
The Recommended Corporate Plan is published on the City website in advance of the Committee of the Whole meetings. It is also promoted via social media and online.
The fiscal plan demonstrates strong stewardship of the City’s financial management in support of providing services and programs to residents, businesses and the surrounding area.
Administration is recommending an increase to municipal property taxes of 3.9 per cent in 2019. An increase to municipal property taxes of 3.9 per cent in 2019 equates to $7.49 per month for a household with an assessed value equal to the median. The property tax increase helps fund ongoing service delivery and maintenance as well as new initiatives and service changes that are not utility or developer related. Ensuring lifecycle maintenance of existing infrastructure, facilities, parks, fleet and equipment, and information systems remains a priority.
There is no increase in electric franchise fees in 2019.
The corporate plan recommends adopting a more common calculation for natural gas franchise fees that will increase the rate to 35 per cent over a three year period. The proposed method is based on a percentage of delivery revenue only, rather than the current approach, which uses a combination of delivery revenue and gas cost and is therefore subject to greater volatility. This is the method now used by most municipalities to calculate franchise fees. The change in method will result in a rate of 25 per cent for 2019 and an increase of 5 per cent per year in 2020 and 2021 to reach a maximum rate of 35 per cent. Franchise fees for natural gas are charged by the City to ATCO Gas and Pipelines for the exclusive right to provide natural gas services within the City as well as for access to City lands to construct, maintain and operate related assets. ATCO passes along the cost of the franchise fee to the consumer as a separate charge on natural gas bills.
The recommended water and sewer utility rate increase is 6.42 per cent ($0.36 per cubic meter) in 2019 which equates to an increase of $5.04 per month for a household consuming 14 cubic meters of water. The water and sewer utility rate is affected by many external influences including, but not limited to, the Capital Region Parkland Water Services Commission, the Alberta Capital Region Waste Water Commission and the cost of future capital work requirements. The City will continue to work with utility customers by providing water conservation initiatives such as leak detection and a water conservation app to help offset rising costs.
There is no solid waste rate increase again for 2019, although it is unlikely that this trend will continue in future years. The City has been experiencing external pressures on waste management and a new contract is being negotiated that will likely impact future costs. The solid waste rate is affected by growth in the community and covers the cost of waste collection, including garbage, organics, recycling and new initiatives.