After 12 days of discussing all services and programs, Banff Town Council finalized the 2022 budget, setting in motion $20.2 million of tax-supported operating expenditures for the year, a 4% increase over 2021.
The 2022 budget includes almost $700,000 in tax-supported spending for new and previously approved projects, such as a National Indigenous Day event and work on creating an Indigenous framework, the Train Station skating rink, waste diversion tactics, increased transit frequency on local bus routes, and a return of a subsidy for residents using the Sally Borden Pool at Banff Centre.
There are approximately $1.7 million worth of service enhancements not funded by taxes. Projects funded by surplus revenue from visitor paid parking include free transit on Banff local routes, increased winter transit service, an e-bike rebate program, and improved snow and ice control at intersections.
The Banff Avenue Pedestrian Zone will proceed again in 2022, funded by the economic recovery reserve. The environmental reserve will fund projects such as community environmental grants, a conifer tree replacement program, a climate action campaign, and a campaign to motivate more visitors to take transit.
“This is a ‘restraint’ budget that acknowledges the current challenges and anticipated recovery from the pandemic this year, while maintaining our focus on strategic priorities for Banff,” said Mayor Corrie DiManno. “Banffites are receiving good value for this budget. I am pleased that we are utilizing reserves for many new service enhancements and initiatives, rather than taxes. The investments in this budget show we are an environmentally focused community that wants to build forward out of the pandemic. We are doing our part in climate change action, getting more people using transit and active modes of transportation, adding more affordable housing, helping our community recover economically, and continuing to build relationships with Indigenous Peoples in the region.”
The 2022 budget also mobilizes $21 million worth of infrastructure projects, such as:
- reconstructing underground utilities and road/trail surface for St. Julien Road;
- expanding the solar energy array on The Fenlands Banff Recreation Centre, as well as adding a weights/cardio room and indoor turf in summer for one ice surface;
- starting pre-design work on a new Cave Avenue apartment building;
- completion of The Aster affordable housing project;
- adding more recycling and organics bins in neighbourhoods;
- completion of the Nancy Pauw Pedestrian Bridge;
- studies to add a bus-only lane heading downtown on the portion of Mountain Avenue inside the town and on Spray Avenue; and
- continued renewal of the Banff Recreation Grounds, including new dedicated horse trails, trails connecting to the pedestrian bridge, and start of construction of a pavilion for sports and recreation users.
The capital budget expenditure in 2022 is 16.5% lower than in 2021. The Town of Banff typically (pre-pandemic) has tax-funded transfers of about $4.5 million to capital reserves each year to build funds for future projects. To reduce the amount of tax levy this year, Banff’s transfer to reserves in 2022 was held at $3.1 million.
The total tax levy required to fund municipal services and programs increased 1.6% due to inflation of costs on current services, 2.43% due returning to pre-pandemic service levels and new services, for a total 4.03% increase on the total municipal property tax levy. The total tax levy was cut 17% in 2020 to reduce taxes for residents and businesses hit by the pandemic.
An average residential dwelling (a unit with its own dedicated entrance) in Banff is valued at $461,100. For this typical dwelling, the 2022 budget is estimated to result in a $16 increase in monthly taxes over 2021, or an increase of $195 for the year. This works out to an estimated $91 per month or $1,092 for the year in total municipal property taxes.
This is just for the municipal portion of the property tax bill. After the Government of Alberta sets its 2022 budget on Feb. 24, the Province will send a requisition to Banff and all other municipalities to collect provincial education taxes from all property owners. Banff Town Council will set the final tax rates in the spring. Until then, the tax increase is an estimate, and only applied to the municipal portion of the property tax bill.
The pandemic has decreased the value of commercial properties, mainly hotels, while residential properties held or increased their value. As a result, limits on how much Alberta municipalities can increase the commercial share of property taxes means the 2022 tax bills will see approximately:
- 20% increase over 2021 for residential properties
- 3% decrease over pre-pandemic 2019 for residential properties
- 9% decrease over 2021 for hotel/accommodation properties
- 13% decrease over pre-pandemic 2019 for hotel/accommodation properties
- 14% increase over 2021 for other business properties
- 13% increase over pre-pandemic 2019 for other business properties
The total tax levy required in Banff has residential property owners contributing about 25% and commercial property owners contributing about 75% of the needed taxes.
Visit https://banff.ca/ServiceReview for Final documents on operating and capital budgets, and current reserve funds.