We’re working on the 2018 Budget. We want your feedback.
The City is seeking citizen input from September 15 to October 15 on the 2018 Budget through an online budget tool.
It is important for the City to support the top priorities of Regina residents. We consult residents on a regular basis over the course of the year on specific community projects and initiatives, like the new Smoking Bylaw, the creation of the mâmawêyatitân centre and the long-term Regina Revitalization Initiative. These consultations provide the City with good information on what’s important to Regina residents and we use it to help build our annual budgets.
In addition, we are guided by the Official Community Plan and supporting master plans. These lay out the long-term vision for our City and the principles that will guide us moving forward to realize our plans for the future.
Accountability and transparency are the cornerstones of the City’s financial operations. Our finances are well managed.
Specific input at budget time is another touchpoint for the City to ensure we remain on track and are making spending decisions that support resident priorities. One of the issues the City faces in 2018 is how to best meet our community’s needs with a tighter budget. Balancing affordability for taxpayers with delivery of services that best meet the needs of our community as a whole will be challenging. Please take the time to let us know your priorities.
The City has an AA+ credit rating with a stable outlook. This confirms a very strong capacity to meet our financial commitments.
The City’s Finances at Mid-Year
The City released its Mid-Year Financial Report September 1, 2017. The Report includes detailed information on the City’s financial position at June 30, 2017. Highlights include:
- The General Fund operating surplus is estimated at $4 million – 1 per cent from the budget projection
- The Utility Fund operating surplus is estimated at $4 million – 3 per cent from the budget projection
- A total of $223 million or 80 per cent of available General Fund capital has been spent
- A total of $80 million or 54 per cent of Utility Fund capital has been spent
The Mid-Year Financial Report is a point in time projection of the year end results. There are a number of variables that could influence the surplus on both the operating and utility results that were not known at the time of the establishment of the mid-year forecast. The best information available has been used to predict the outcomes to the end of the year. Since preparing this forecast and report, new information has been received that will result in updated projections. This includes a record breaking number of water main breaks in August. In addition, as of June 30, 2017, the construction season was not yet completed.
As the year progresses, the results will change based on decisions made and uncontrollable factors such as weather that impact city operations. The City will continue to monitor the financial situation to ensure funds are directed where they are needed most in order to continue to provide the services that citizens of Regina need.
We are committed to openly sharing information about our financial position and follow best practices in our financial and performance reporting.
Do you know what residents can expect in next year’s budget?
The City is in the process of developing the 2018 Budget. There is a lot of work to be done to ensure we are creating a budget that is aligned to our strategic plan and reflects citizen priorities. That is why we are encouraging residents to take a few minutes and go to Regina.ca/balancethebudget to give us input and let us know what’s important to them.
Do you expect to go over budget as a result of the record level of water breaks?
The hot, dry summer is causing the ground to shift and this is impacting City water pipes and service connections and we are seeing a record number of beaks as a result. The financial impact of this is that the City is redirecting staff to address the issue and some other projects are temporarily stopped or slowed in order to meet the highest priorities. We will continue to monitor the costs and continue to manage the budget.
Are there budget pressures you can identify now?
There are number of variables that can impact the 2018 Budget. We have projected a $15 million impact as a result of changes announced in the 2017-2018 Provincial Budget. This certainly makes the 2018 Budget challenging and again, we would ask residents to take the time to let us know their spending priorities through the online tool. Your feedback is important.
Are you considering new revenue alternatives in the 2018 Budget?
While the City is governed by the Provincial Government on what it can create as new revenue streams, the City regularly reviews the existing fees and charges to ensure that they cover the cost of providing the services. In the 2018 Budget development process, Administration will look at various options to reduce costs, increase efficiencies and examine opportunities to increase revenues that would reduce the need to utilize tax revenues to support increased costs.
How long with the tool be available?
The tool will be available on Regina.ca/balancethebudget until October 15.