City Council approves 2023-2025 Corporate Plan
Spruce Grove City Council has approved the 2023-2025 Corporate Plan, which focuses on investing in the municipality and implementing Council’s priorities from their 2022-2025 Strategic Plan.
In addition to investments that are necessary to deliver on Council’s vision as described within the strategic plan, the corporate plan also includes investments to address cost pressures and ensure long-term sustainability of the municipality. Highlights of the approved plan can be found in the Budget 2023 Highlights document.
“We recognize the importance in investing in our community, both through the vision outlined in Council’s strategic plan and by providing services that address the needs of our residents,” said Mayor Jeff Acker. “This corporate plan will allow us to make those investments that we need both today, as well as in the future as our city continues to grow.”
The corporate plan provides Council with a comprehensive operational and capital plan with operating and capital budgets for municipal, utility and developer entities and outlines the resources required to:
- deliver programs and services;
- address cost pressures on the municipality;
- provide funding to the community; and
- implement Council’s vision for Spruce Grove, as described in the 2022-2025 Strategic Plan.
In its deliberations, Council recognized the importance of investing in the community while still balancing the need for a fiscally prudent budget. The corporate plan reflects Administration’s efforts to strike a balance between a reasonable tax increase approach while also addressing cost pressures facing the municipality.
Implementing a general tax rate increase and continuing the dedicated tax rate increase to fund lifecycle projects were seen by Council as necessary for fiscal sustainability, as this will allow the City to build the necessary financial resources to fund ongoing requirements and future infrastructure needs.
“We made sure this corporate plan reflects a responsible budget that addresses both the needs of today as well as future growth,” said City Manager Dean Screpnek. “We focused on building a transparent and sustainable budget with funding strategies that serve both immediate and longer-term needs in the community.”
Council’s direction is reflected in the approved 2023-2025 Corporate Plan through the following:
- A fully funded 10 Year Capital Plan.
- Support for business cases and capital profiles that directly invest in the community, particularly those related directly to achieving the vision set out in the strategic plan.
- Municipal tax increase:
- 2.9 per cent general tax increase for 2023 to be used to address investments in the municipality that require ongoing funding.
- Continuation of the 1.0 per cent dedicated tax increase to fund lifecycle maintenance of City-owned assets, such as roads, parks, community facilities, and more.
- 1.0 per cent increase to continue a dedicated revenue stream for the Civic Centre, as part of a multi-year strategy to smooth the financial impact of this investment on the City’s operations.
- Continuation of the property tax rate split shift to create more equity between residential and non-residential (businesses and industrial properties) taxpayers. Within a municipality’s tax structure, residential and non-residential ratepayers pay different property tax rates on assessed value. Non-residential ratepayers will see a slight increase in their rates due to this shift; however, non-residential taxpayers in Spruce Grove will continue to pay a lower rate than the provincial average. This increase will fund lifecycle maintenance.
- Increase to utility fees and charges:
- Water: $4.06 average monthly increase to residential ratepayer (6.7 per cent increase based on average monthly consumption of 14 cubic metres of water). This increase reflects rate increases from the Alberta Capital Region Wastewater Commission.
- Stormwater: $3.05 monthly increase to residential ratepayer (total cost/month increases to $14.55 for customers with a water meter less than one inch in diameter). The increase will help fund stormwater operations as well as future infrastructure repairs, maintenance and replacement costs, and new capital requirements.
- Solid waste (garbage, organics and recycling collection): no planned increase.
- Sanitary sewer: no planned increase.
- Electric franchise fee: no planned increase.
- Natural gas franchise fee: $2.74 average monthly increase. This reflects a 5.0 per cent increase in the natural gas franchise fee to reach the maximum rate of 35 per cent.
Business case and capital project profile highlights
Council also approved several business cases and capital project profiles as part of Budget 2023 in the approved 2023-2025 Corporate Plan. These business cases and capital profiles highlight investments in the community, including resources required to deliver on the strategic plan, continued work on the City Centre Area Redevelopment Plan, and investment in social and economic programs and services. A summary is below with further detail on each provided in the approved corporate plan.
- The total cost for the one-time municipal operating business cases for 2023 that are funded by one-time projected savings from 2022 that flow through reserve, is $848,000.
- The total cost for the ongoing municipal operating business cases for 2023 that require ongoing funding is $1,362,000. The cost has been achieved by the increased franchise fee revenue of $524,000.
- The total cost for the one-time utility operating business case for 2023 that require one time funding by the utility operating budget is $270,000.
- The total cost for the ongoing utility operating business cases for 2023 that require ongoing funding is $42,000.
- The total cost for the capital project profiles for 2023 is $65,614,000.
The approved 2023-2025 Corporate Plan is effective January 1, 2023, and will have an average total monthly impact of $19.90/month based on a single family detached home with an assessed value of $373,400. The following information provides a breakdown of this impact on residential and non-residential ratepayers:
- Residential ratepayers will see an average increase of $10.05/month for the property tax rate increase, which is based on a median assessment value of $373,400 for a single family detached home. Note that property owners will receive their tax notices at the end of May 2023, after the final mill rate has been set for 2023.
- For a household with an average monthly consumption of 14 cubic metres of water, the utility rate increase will translate to a monthly cost of $4.06. Households will also see an increase of $3.05/month for stormwater utility rates.
- Residential ratepayers will also see an increase of $2.74/month for natural gas franchise fees based on the planned 5.0 per cent increase in fees to reach the maximum rate of 35 per cent. This increase was signalled in the 2022-2024 approved Corporate Plan. 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 the natural gas bills. Franchise fees are also charged to properties that are otherwise exempt from property taxes such as schools, healthcare facilities, places of worship and non-profit organizations. Non-residential ratepayers will see a monthly increase of $40.15 for every $1,000,000 of assessed value, from the dedicated tax increase. In 2023, the tax rate split shift will have a monthly impact of $32.55 per $1,000,000 of assessment. Non residential ratepayers will also see an increase of $12.20/month for stormwater utility rates.
Looking forward to 2023
The approved 2023-2025 Corporate Plan continues to demonstrate strong stewardship of the City’s financial management to provide services and programs to residents, businesses and the surrounding area. The plan reflects the required investments to deliver on Council's strategic plan and create a strong foundation of long-term sustainability. As Council implements their strategic plan, clear priorities will be communicated to ensure Spruce Grove continues to grow in a sustainable way for residents today and tomorrow.