I believe the first job of a City Councilor is to build a city by developing communities for future generations. But we must do so responsibly, carefully stewarding the tax dollars of today’s generation who pays for it.

The City of Edmonton’s budget in 2017 was just over $2.6 billion. We are in nearly 100 lines of business from designing and maintaining parks, to clearing and cleaning roadways, to police and fire rescue, to urban planning and public engagement.

Our Capital Plan and our Operating Budget should be informed by our City vision. Our City vision, which is presently called The Way Ahead, has the following main outcomes associated with its goals:

1. Edmonton is attractive and compact

2. The City of Edmonton has sustainable and accessible infrastructure

3. Edmontonians use public transit and active modes of transportation

4. Goods and services move efficiently

5. Edmontonians are connected to the city in which they live, work, and play

6. Edmontonians use facilities and services that promote healthy living

7. Edmonton is a safe city

8. The City of Edmonton’s operations are environmentally sustainable

9. Edmonton is an environmentally sustainable and resilient city

10. The City of Edmonton has a resilient financial position

11. Edmonton has a globally competitive and entrepreneurial business climate

12. The Edmonton region is a catalyst for industry and business growth

In my view our budgets must be aligned with these goals.

They must also be aligned with current economic realities as well. So when families are struggling financially because the provincial and federal economies are hurting, cities have be very mindful of the effects our spending choices have on property taxes and citizen’s household balance sheet.

That is why in this term we built a capital plan committed to building our city for future generations while approving the lowest tax increases in the last 10 years. And, if you subtract the neighbourhood renewal levy of 1.5 % and the .7% for LRT reserve from the 2017 2.85% tax increase, we have a .65% tax increase that is well below inflation.

There is a reasonable argument that in a city growing as quickly as Edmonton inflation % + population growth % are good river banks for a tax increase.

The point is we have to be connected to our vision, mindful of the economy, and committed to quality service and returning value for money.

Currently we are well below our debt limits and review this regularly along with the progress on the capital projects debt pays for. For more information, a recent White Paper on Debt that council has debated over the term can be read here, as well as the City’s debt management policy available here.