2016 Budget Survey: City Services and You


The feedback submission feature has been disabled in order to complete a gathering of input for City Council and Administration. However, please feel free to still use the tool to learn about the budget and the distribution of tax dollars!

In late 2015, Edmonton City Council sets the 2016-18 budgets for all City Operations and Utilities.

We invite you to use this interactive Budget simulator to tell us what you think should be the City’s priorities. We've included charts, links and background information to help you throughout this consultation.

The results of the exercise will be shared with City Council for their budget deliberations in November and December. You can learn about the proposed budget and follow the process at www.edmonton.ca/Budget2016.

Thank you for your participation!

Change an activity to start
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Your Priorities

In your view, what are the most important issues facing our community that should also receive the greatest attention from City Council?

Please select up to 5 top issues:
If you selected "Other Issue," please explain.
How the Budget Works

The types of programs and level of City services needed to maintain our standard of living were identified by City Department Business Plans earlier this year.

The budgets set the expenditures to support all services and programs. Through November and December, the budget process allows City Council to review where money is needed most. During these deliberations, Council evaluates recommendations form City Administration and public feedback.

The City considers the following factors:

  • cost of inflation for labour and materials,
  • cost increases for expanding services to new areas and
  • cost increases to serve a growing population (over the last five years, Edmonton has grown by about 80,000 people—one of the fastest growth rates in Canada).

The City also considers the sources of funding to pay for City programs and services. These sources include, grants from federal and provincial governments, transit revenue and other user fees, and fines. Some sources of funding can only be allocated to pay for certain services, such as photo radar only being used for traffic safety programs.

After adding up these funding sources, the City calculates how much more it needs to balance the budget -- that remaining portion comes from property taxes. By legislation, the City collects only enough taxes to support its programs and services—it cannot collect more and it cannot collect less.

Typically, residential and commercial property taxes make up about 55% of the revenue needed for the City’s annual operating budget.

Getting Started

Your home’s assessed value determines your share of property taxes and results in a calculation of how many tax dollars go toward each City service each month.

We have inserted the default value of $401,000 (the value of a typical home in Edmonton in 2015), but you are invited to change it to match your home’s assessed value to see how much of your actual tax dollars go each month to supporting these service areas.

Balance the Budget and Show Priorities

As you adjust the amounts in each broad service category, you will see the Operating Budget balance change. If you decrease overall expenditures, you create a surplus; if you increase the overall expenditure, you create a deficit. You can balance the budget by changing other areas or deal with the surplus/deficit in a later question.

Generally, if you think an area needs to be enhanced, increasing the budgeted amount can help. It also shows that this service area is a priority for you. If you feel a service area is less of a priority, you can decrease the budget amount in favour of other areas or lower taxes.

Thinking about the operations for civic services provided by the City of Edmonton, would you increase funding of the service, decrease funding of the service or keep the funding the same?

(If you increase funding in one area, you will have to decrease funding in another area to balance the budget, or increase taxes at the end.)

Operating Budget supported by Property Taxes Your choice
City Governance

Edmonton's City Governance comprises the Mayor and 12 Councillors, their support staff, the Office of the City Auditor, the Office of the City Manager, Communications services, the Office of Public Engagement, and the Office of the City Clerk.

In addition to participation in community meetings, City Councillors review between 1,200 to 1,700 reports per year, participate as a Council in about 135 public meetings, and vote on roughly 3,000 Council motions annually.

The City Clerk’s Office coordinates all the meetings and more than 20,000 votes of Council each year.

The City Auditor, which is independent from the rest of City Administration, presents from 10 to 15 audit reports to City Council each year, reviewing City programs, services and issues.

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In your opinion, what could be done to improve the services in the category of City Governance?
Have you used services from this category in the past 12 months?
Community Services

This category funds a wide range of family and community support services. This service area delivers programs directly such as seniors services, Aboriginal relations and initiatives for the homeless. This area also supports community-led initiatives and agencies such as REACH, Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues, partnerships, boards, commissions, and support to attractions like the Space and Science Centre and Fort Edmonton Park.

The Aging in Place pilot projects funded though this category, for example, benefited more than 4,000 seniors and worked with 100+ partners to coordinate 36 community initiatives.

The Street Outreach project helped make contact with more than 940 people who are homeless and helped to successfully house nearly 50 individuals.

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In your opinion, what could be done to improve the services under Community Services?
Have you used services from this category in the past 12 months?
Community Standards Learn more

The Community Standards category includes the work of peace officers, park rangers, municipal enforcement officers, parking enforcement and animal care & control, which includes mosquito and other pest management.

These teams protect the health, safety and welfare of Edmontonians by promoting compliance with our community standards and bylaws. They investigate and address bylaw complaints about parking violations, animals, weeds, nuisance properties, sidewalk snow clearing, lawn signs and garbage storage.

This category also includes funding for the Capital City Clean-up Program to combat litter and graffiti. Last year, through education programs and clean-up efforts, the City saw a 9.4% reduction in litter on city streets and a 43% reduction in graffiti vandalism in 20 neighbourhoods with the highest reported incidences.

As a result of stronger partnership efforts between the Edmonton Humane Society and local animal rescue groups, the Animal Care and Control Centre cat-return-to-owner rates have increased by 19%, and pet euthanasia rates have decreased by 38%.

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In your opinion, what could be done to improve the Community Standards services?
Have you used services from this category in the past 12 months?
Corporate Support

The Corporate Support category funds services that the City relies on to sustain itself as an organization: Information Technology, Human Resources, Law, Financial Services, and Procurement and Supply Services. This category also includes customer-facing services like 311 and the City of Edmonton website (edmonton.ca).

Examples of activities funded through this category include:

  • 6,000 phone calls and emails answered by 311 every day, 24 hours a day;
  • 30,000 visits per day to the City of Edmonton website
  • Support and maintenance for 1,100 desktop and 130 line-of-business applications, 8,000 computers, and 12,000 telecommunications devices used by City staff
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In your opinion, what could be done to improve Corporate Support?
Have you used services from this category in the past 12 months?
Economic Development

Services in this category include the City's economic diversification strategy (The Way We Prosper), Edmonton Economic Development Corporation (EEDC), Edmonton Film Commission and the TEC Edmonton partnership.

EEDC implements the economic growth strategy for Edmonton and Edmonton Metro through its Enterprise Edmonton, Edmonton Tourism, Shaw Conference Centre and Edmonton Research Park divisions.

Edmonton Metro is home to more than 45,000 businesses, 95% of which have fewer than 50 employees. Together, they are driving Canada’s fastest growing and 5th largest city. Efforts to promote tourism in Edmonton result in four million visitors to our city and an estimated $1 billion in spending in Edmonton Metro each year.

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In your opinion, what could be done to improve these Economic Development services?
Have you used services from this category in the past 12 months?
Fire Rescue

Edmonton's Fire Rescue Services provide fire suppression services, medical response, public safety and investigations, fire prevention and education, environmental emergency response, training and dispatch.

Last year, firefighters responded to more than 41,000 calls related to fires, medical emergencies, motor vehicle accidents, hazardous material incidents, and technical and river rescues.

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In your opinion, what could be done to improve the services under Fire Rescue?
Have you used services from this category in the past 12 months?
Neighbourhoods and Parks

The Neighbourhoods and Parks category delivers community level recreation programs, and support to neighbourhood revitalization. Community and family programs include and Short Term Counselling, Community Building Social Work, Family Violence Prevention and Intervention, community safety initiatives.

Parks services include:

  • parks and park maintenance,
  • forestry and horticulture planning and maintenance,
  • acquisition of natural areas,
  • management of playgrounds, sports fields, and river valley trails.

The City organizes almost 300 summer camps in City parks and 185 Green Shack playground programs.

Each year, City staff maintain 4,195 hectares of turf; manage 671 sports fields, 333 playgrounds and 72 spray parks and prune more than 41,000 trees. In 2014, Edmonton’s Root for Trees volunteers participated in 126 tree planting events and planted more than 43,000 trees and shrubs.

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In your opinion, what could be done to improve the services of Neighbourhoods and Parks?
Have you used services from this category in the past 12 months?
Neighbourhood Renewal

The Neighbourhood Renewal program provides funding for:

  • reconstruction or upgrades of roads, sidewalks and street lights in mature communities, and
  • other infrastructure revitalization in older neighbourhoods.

This program is funded through a dedicated portion of property taxes, the Provincial Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) and local improvement levies.

More than 150 Edmonton neighbourhoods require renewal. Of these, 100 need to be reconstructed. This program aims to undertake improvements (either overlay, preventive maintenance or total reconstruction) in all aging neighbourhoods within 30 years.

Thirty-four neighbourhoods have been scheduled for reconstruction, between 2011 and 2018, with about six being completed every year.

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In your opinion, what could be done to improve Neighbourhood Renewal?
Have you used services from this category in the past 12 months?
Operational Support

The Operational Support category supports Fleet Services and the management of Facilities and Landscape Infrastructure.

In Fleet Services, a team of mechanics, engineers and technicians maintain a fleet of 5,000+ City vehicles in 15 garages. Facilities and Landscape teams look after 900+ civic facilities like LRT stations, libraries, foot bridges, police stations, transit stops and drainage infrastructure. They also take care of 100 servicing agreements; 75,000 building, plumbing and gas, HVAC (heating, ventilation and air-conditioning) systems and electrical inspections; 3,000+ affordable housing units; and 75 heritage designations.

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In your opinion, what could be done to improve Operational Support?
Have you used services from this category in the past 12 months?
Planning and Housing

The Planning and Housing category funds urban planning, housing services, the Environment Office, land management, zoning, building permits and licensing, enforcement of safety codes and site servicing.

Every year, City teams funded in this category process 30,000+ applications for development permits, zoning and compliance. They also manage the planning, design and construction of more than $190 million of new buildings, facilities and attractions and the rehabilitation of existing infrastructure.

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In your opinion, what could be done to improve these services for Planning and Housing?
Have you used services from this category in the past 12 months?
Police

The Edmonton Police Service (EPS), under the governance of the Edmonton Police Commission (EPC), focuses its efforts on a four-part policing mandate to:

  • prevent crime,
  • enforce laws,
  • address matters of public safety, and
  • maintain social order – all within a city that continues to experience tremendous growth but still requires the same levels of service for all its citizens.

Last year, EPS received more than 923,144 calls through its 911 line and non-emergency complaint line.

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In your opinion, what could be done to improve Police Services?
Have you used services from this category in the past 12 months?
Public Library

The Edmonton Public Library (EPL) advocates literacy and learning for all Edmontonians. Each year, Edmontonians visit EPL virtually and physically more than 14 million times and borrow more than 16 million items.

EPL provides digital and physical collections in 18 locations, inter-library loans, reference services and public computers. In 2013, EPL celebrated its 100th anniversary; in 2014, it was named a Library of the Year by Library Journal and Gale Cengage Learning.

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In your opinion, what could be done to improve these services for the Public Library?
Have you used services from this category in the past 12 months?
Public Transit

The Edmonton Transit System (ETS) moves people by providing customer-focused, safe, reliable and affordable public transit services. It is also responsible for the operations and maintenance of:

  • 25 transit centres,
  • 6 garages,
  • 15 LRT stations,
  • 900+ conventional buses,
  • 45 community buses,
  • 290+ routes,
  • 100+ DATS vehicles and
  • 75+ LRT vehicles

Every weekday, people in Edmonton take more than 400,000 trips on buses and the LRT. Over the last 12 years, ETS ridership has nearly doubled, and this number is expected to increase again this year now that the Metro Line is in service.

Over 25% of the City’s employees (excluding Police and Utilities) are dedicated to direct provision of transit service.

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In your opinion, what could be done to improve these services provided for Public Transit?
Have you used services from this category in the past 12 months?
Recreation Facilities and Attractions

The Recreation Facilities category provides funding for the programming and staff in

  • 60+ community facilities and recreation centres,
  • 6 outdoor pools,
  • 20 community arenas,
  • 8 cemeteries,
  • 3 golf courses,
  • 22 partner-operated facilities and
  • attractions like the Valley Zoo and the Muttart Conservatory.

Last year, the City of Edmonton hosted 790 festivals and events and welcomed close to 400,000 visitors to its leisure centers every month.

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In your opinion, what could be done to improve these services for Recreation Facilities and Attractions?
Have you used services from this category in the past 12 months?
Summer Road Maintenance

Summer road maintenance includes work on pothole repair, design and construction of new roads in the expanding city, and renewal of roads, arterial routes and bridges in established communities.

In 2014, crews filled 485,700 potholes. This year, the City is paving 180 kilometres of road, which is more than the distance from Edmonton to Red Deer.

In spring 2015, the City removed 150,000+ tonnes of sand from 4,700+ km of city roadways as part of street cleaning efforts, with 80% of it collected and recycled. The City’s sand recycling program is the largest and most successful of its kind in North America.

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In your opinion, what could be done to improve these services for Summer Road Maintenance?
Have you used services from this category in the past 12 months?
Traffic Management

The City’s Traffic Management service includes traffic safety, traffic operations, signals and street lighting in Edmonton.

Revenue received from photo radar and a small portion of property taxes fund the Office of Traffic Safety. These funds also helped convert street lighting to LEDs to save approximately $4,300 per neighbourhood per year in energy costs and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 243 tons per year for every thousand lights replaced.

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In your opinion, what could be done to improve these services in Traffic Management?
Have you used services from this category in the past 12 months?
Winter Road Maintenance

The Winter Road Maintenance category funds the City’s commitment to providing snow and ice control that makes it possible for commuters, transit users and those moving commercial goods to travel more safely in the winter.

During winter 2014-2015, the City removed 2.4 million cubic metres of snow. In an average year, crews remove 1.2 million cubic metres of snow. If you piled up this snow covering the entire field in Commonwealth Stadium, the resulting giant cube of snow would be taller than the EPCOR tower.

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In your opinion, what could be done to improve these services in Winter Road Maintenance?
Have you used services from this category in the past 12 months?
Non-Adjustable Categories

The following categories generally have fixed costs, as they are set in Capital Budgets or are not variable.

Debt Repayment

Funds in this category go directly towards paying off the City’s debt. The City of Edmonton uses debt to finance certain large infrastructure projects that will benefit communities over a long time like police stations, fire halls, recreation centres, libraries and new LRT lines. Edmonton is able to borrow money at an interest rate below what is available to citizens or businesses. The annual requirement is locked in for the project repayment.

Transfers for Capital Purchases

This category directly pays for capital projects through the Pay-As-You-Go funding. The City uses operating funds to pay for capital project expenditures like design costs, land purchases, IT hardware or the percent for art program, as these are not covered under federal or provincial grant programs.

Corporate Expenditures

This program has fixed costs and primarily includes expenses pertaining to Council and corporate contingencies, risk management, insurance claims/recoveries, and support for city activities and partnerships.

Finding Efficiencies and Balancing the Budget

The City has reduced the net Operating Budgets by $178 million over the past five years (2010-2014) through efficiency measures. The City has made an additional $15.6 million in expenditure reductions in the 2015 budget. Opportunities to save major costs, without cutting programs, are getting harder to find after five years of cost cutting measures. The City is formalizing an innovation program to find continuous improvement and even more efficiencies. These measures will be vital to balancing budgets as the cost of operating and maintaining new facilities such as recreation centres, libraries, police and fire stations and a new LRT line have increased operating costs.

Budget Simulator: Your Results

Please look at the black bar at the top of the page for the running total of your work to adjust the operating categories. If your proposed budget results in an overall increase in dollars per month, your proposed budget is in a DEFICIT.

This means that we have to balance the budget by decreasing program spending in one or more areas, finding more efficiencies, increasing property taxes, increasing user fees or increasing both property taxes and user fees.

Which do you prefer the *most*?
Which of the options would you support the *least*?
Services funded by Utility Fees Your choice

The services provided by Waste Management Services and Drainage Services are funded entirely by the utility fees property owners pay each month. No property taxes support these operations. The fee for a typical home is indicated in the slider bar, but it may not be the exact rate for your home.

Overall, thinking about the Waste and Drainage services in Edmonton, would you increase funding of the service, decrease funding of the service or keep the funding the same?

Waste Management Services Learn more


The Waste Management Service includes garbage and recyclables collection, Eco Stations, neighbourhood recycling depots, Big Bin Events, the Composting Facility, the Reuse Centre, and waste recycling and processing at the world famous Waste Management Centre. The service also includes innovative partnerships with green businesses such as the waste-to-biofuels facility and Waste RE-Solutions.

Every week, the City collects garbage and recycling from more than 350,000 households in Edmonton. In 2014, this totalled 247,380 tonnes of waste and 46,670 tonnes of recyclables. Waste Management Services’ various waste, recycling and composting operations, combined with backyard composting, grasscycling and reuse practiced by residents, resulted in a diversion of 51 per cent of residential waste from landfill in 2014.

The three Eco Stations served a record 238,200 customers in 2014, and a fourth station opened in March of this year. The Reuse Area at the Ambleside Eco Station alone diverted 102 tonnes of reusable items from landfill.

Since 1988, the City has diverted enough recycling material from landfill to form a convoy of trucks from Edmonton to Lake Superior in Ontario, a distance of approximately 2,500 kilometres. Edmonton is among the global leaders in diverting waste from landfills, and its 3-year target is to increase that diversion rate to 90%.

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In your opinion, what could be done to improve Waste Management Services?
Have you used services from this category in the past 12 months?
Drainage Services Learn more


Drainage Services provides sanitary and stormwater drainage services to Edmonton residents by planning, building, operating and maintaining pipes, tunnels, pump stations, and stormwater management facilities that make up the City’s drainage network. This category includes strategic and environmental planning, storm ponds, and work to mitigate the flooding issues with changing environmental conditions and aging infrastructure upgrades to support a growing population.

This group repairs, maintains and upgrades 5,500 km of sanitary and storm sewer pipes. Every day, 240 million litres of wastewater drain from Edmonton homes, into the sanitary system underground. Ultimately, Drainage Services works to protects public health, quality of life and the environment by careful management of the wastewater, stormwater, and biosolids that the City of Edmonton produces.

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In your opinion, what could be done to improve Drainage Services?
Have you used services from this category in the past 12 months?
Satisfaction with City Services
Generally speaking, how would you rate your overall level of satisfaction with the quality of services provided by the City of Edmonton?
Thinking back over the last 12 months, would you say that the quality of service provided by the City of Edmonton has …?
Household Costs and Taxes Learn more

This next section asks questions about your household costs and taxes. We are interested in current residential costs faced each month as they provide a gauge of affordability in Edmonton.

The following chart provides the breakdown of monthly expenses in Edmonton, based on data from Statistics Canada and the 2011 census:

If you do not own property, your rental costs (under shelter) are factored into property taxes. The costs have increased for all items since 2011, but the proportions remain very similar.

In 2015, for a typical Edmonton home, valued at $401,000, the budget resulted in about $3,100 property taxes for the year, consisting of about $2,200 that goes directly to municipal programs and services, and about $900 that goes to the provincial education tax.. That’s about 35% of each homeowner’s property taxes going to the Government of Alberta as an education tax.

As a point of reference, City taxes amount to about 1.9% of a typical household’s total costs, while home operations for things such as Internet, TV cable, furnishings and pet supplies add up to 11.8%. Food alone amounts to 9%.

All civic services are provided for about $6 per day in municipal property taxes.

Thinking about the portion of municipal services that property taxes pay for, would you say you receive…?
Demographic questions
Postal Code
Gender
Which of the following categories best describes your total household income in 2015 before taxes?
Age
What neighbourhood do you live in?

If you are satisfied with your choices, click "Submit".