We all expect fiscal responsibility from government. We all pay taxes one way or another and we all want to ensure that the taxes we pay are fair and wisely spent. Thorough budget review, solid financial oversight and long-term plan financial planning for the town is something I take very seriously. In 2016, Council held six public meetings deliberating the draft 2017/18 operating budget. This open process has been the normal format since 2012. The public is welcome to observe in chambers or from home the meeting and any decisions that come out of that meeting and the agenda and draft budget document is available to anyone who would like to review them and are also posted to the town website. Budgets, business plans, audited financials and our Long Term Financial Strategy from the last 5 years or more can be found here. I am proud of our transparent budget process. Council publicly receives their audited financials and year over year has received kudos by the auditors regarding the town’s financial affairs. The town receives positive reviews from our auditor with regards to the state of our budgeting process, our healthy reserve balance and our responsible debt and debt servicing levels. I am proud that our audited financials are presented and approved publicly and transparently. For the 7 years I have been on council, the town has reported an end of year surplus and those funds have been used to give a financial boost to community priorities such as reserves, housing projects and flood mitigation. The town does have debt. But the town’s debt is well within our personally mandated level that is articulated within our Debt Management Policy. This year council wanted to provide even more security against debt and passed a policy that limits our ability to take debt and maintains our levels far below that required by us by the provincial government. At the end of 2017, the town will be within 44% of their provincially mandated debt limit. In 2018, half of the new debt taken will be to complete the lifecycle upgrades required at the Canmore Recreation Centre (this project is being funded by a combination of Debt - $5M, and Grants - $5M) and the other half is for an Dewatering upgrade for our Waste Water Treatment Plant. The debt for this project is funded by a combination of utility fees and off-site levies and is not supported through taxes. You can view the operating and capital budgets for the town here. In this term, council has spent considerable time creating and approving financial policies such as the Long Term Financial Policy, Debt Management Policy, Financial Reserve Policy, Tangible Capital Assets and Budget Amendment Policy. You can find these policies here under “Financial Policy”. Providing a clear financial framework is key to ensuring that we can look the future in the eye with assurance.
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