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City of Red Deer

Environmental Master Plan steers Red Deer’s sustainable future

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From The City of Red Deer

City Council adopted an updated version of the Environmental Master Plan, a document which will guide Red Deer’s environmental strategy now and into the future.

The Environmental Master Plan (EMP) was originally released in 2011 and serves as a guide to improve environmental sustainability in Red Deer by setting goals and providing short-, medium- and long-term strategies. The EMP is designed to provide The City and the people of Red Deer with a road map to improved environmental performance. The updated plan outlines clear goals and measurable targets, as well as suggested actions for The City to undertake during implementation.

“The EMP refresh is a higher-level document that was designed to provide a foundation for strategic decision making in the future. We focused on six areas: air, ecology, energy, waste, water and community design, which combined transportation and built environment from the previous plan,” said Nancy Hackett, Environmental Initiatives Supervisor, “Each of the sixareas have specific targets and metrics, but we refined the plan to 20 actions that providebroader direction.”

A variety of public engagement sessions provided key community insight that was used to assess current conditions and determine future focuses and goals for the plan. In addition to sessions with targeted community groups, a Community Engagement Group took part in monthly, in-depth sessions to discuss Red Deer’s focus areas, targets and actions for the future.

Now that the plan has been adopted, City Staff will begin implementation to ensure Red Deercontinues on its’ path of reducing its environmental footprint.

A full version of the EMP is available on the City’s website at reddeer.ca/EMP.

Business News

Chamber of Commerce applauds City Council on reducing tax increase, but encourages even more restraint

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From Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce

Chamber reacts to City of Red Deer 2020 Operating Budget

The Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce is encouraged by Council’s willingness to reduce the tax burden on city residents and businesses.

Chamber CEO Rick More commented. “Overall it is promising to see City Council and staff members taking actions to alleviate the cost of doing business in our City. It has been a long-time ask by our Chamber that the city take a hard look at costs, focus on competitiveness, business friendliness and reducing the tax burden on our local job creators.”

The Chamber acknowledges that neither reducing the capital contribution nor the transfer to operating reserves is a sustainable or long-term solution to tax competitiveness, but the right call for the time. “As we enter yet another year of this economic downturn, the number of business closures combined with those on the verge of shutting their doors and the exodus of business from our downtown core, the last thing we needed was another substantial tax increase. We will continue to encourage the city to focus on more efficient program and service delivery that results in long-term cost savings but maintains our core services,” continued More.

Prior to budget deliberations the Chamber provided a written submission to Council encouraging them to align municipal priorities with the province’s stated direction of job creation and growing the economy. These focus areas are especially pertinent given prior government messaging that municipal funding will be awarded based on this alignment.

More concluded “It is also encouraging to see that Council directed the City Manager Seabrooke to find an additional $400,000 in savings, but important to note that equates to approximately one-tenth of a percent of total operational spending. In a household with a $75,000 annual budget its equivalent to finding just $77 in savings. We’re confident that in a nearly $400 million budget there is significant room to reduce spending. By setting conditions that allow local business to thrive, our entire community will benefit from increased job opportunities and a strong local economy.”

The Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce is a non-partisan, collaborative leader in building a vibrant community and fosters an environment where businesses can lead, be innovative, sustainable, and grow.

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City of Red Deer

Red Deer City Council looking to keep tax increase just below 1%

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From The City of Red Deer

2020 Operating Budget approved with direction for further reductions

After five days of deliberations, City Council approved a $389 million Operating Budget, reducing the proposed 2.49 per cent tax increase to 1.26 per cent with direction to identify further savings to reduce to 0.97 per cent.

To achieve the reduced tax rate, Council directed administration to identify an additional $400,000 in cost savings by the end of February.

“Our goal is to always keep the budget and cost of living in Red Deer as affordable as possible withoutcompromising our ability to provide quality services to our citizens,” said Mayor Tara Veer. “Administration met Council’s guidelines set in the spring, but with the continued economic recession, we need to find further savings which will result in a significantly reduced budget than we were originally expecting.”

To make the initial reductions to the proposed tax rate during deliberations, Council approved approximately $2.1 million in corporate cost savings, revenues, and efficiencies. These savings included eliminating a $500,000 transfer from operating to the operating reserve tax supported fund, as well as reducing the proposed 2020 capital contribution from one per cent to 0.5 per cent at a value of $682,000.

“In response to the economy, we have frozen staffing levels in 2020, with the exception of policing to address community safety challenges,” said Mayor Veer.

“Much like the Capital Budget, the Operating Budget is focused on maintaining current service levels. Cost savings were achieved where possible and we are able to honour previous commitments focusing on community safety by maintaining the added member complement in the RCMP,” said Allan Seabrooke, City Manager. “Council provided direction to administration to find an additional reduction of $400,000, and we’ll take the next six weeks to comb through the budget to identify further cost savings while minimizing impacts on our citizens and staff.”

Administration will bring a report back to Council at the end of February outlining the additional cost savings, giving time for the Tax Rate Bylaw to be adopted in April. The municipal tax rate will then be combined with the provincial education tax requisition and the requisition for the Piper Creek Foundation to determine how much property tax residents will pay.

For a home valued at $325,000, a homeowner will pay $2,338.09 in the municipal portion of their taxes based on a 0.97 per cent increase. This works out to an increase of $22.46 per year or $1.87 per month.

Residents can find out more about the 2020 Operating Budget by visiting The City’s website atwww.reddeer.ca/budget.City

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january, 2020

mon06jan(jan 6)8:00 amfri31(jan 31)12:00 amJanuary is Alzheimer's Awareness Month8:00 am - 12:00 am (31) Event Organized By: K. Jobs

sun12jan(jan 12)2:00 pmsun22mar(mar 22)5:00 pmAnne Frank: A History for Today opening at Red Deer MAG2:00 pm - (march 22) 5:00 pm mst Red Deer Museum & Art Gallery Address: 4525 - 47A Avenue, Red Deer

thu23jan(jan 23)6:00 pmsat25(jan 25)11:00 pmRed Deer Justice Film Festival6:00 pm - 11:00 pm (25) welikoklad event centre, 4922 49 St, Red Deer, AB T4N 1V3

fri24jan1:30 pm3:00 pmMonthly Mindfulness Drop-InMonthly Mindfulness Drop-In1:30 pm - 3:00 pm

mon27jan11:15 am1:15 pmLuncheon With Arlene Dickinson11:15 am - 1:15 pm Cambridge Hotel and Conference Centre, 3310 50 Avenue

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