Taxpayers Federation shines light on big spending Alberta municipalities

Author: Franco Terrazzano 2020/06/16

CALGARY, ABThe Canadian Taxpayers Federation released a report analyzing the annual per person spending of Alberta municipal governments in light of property tax bills having recently been mailed to taxpayers.

“Municipal governments in Alberta are some of the biggest spenders in Canada and this report allows Albertans to see which municipalities are the worst,” said Franco Terrazzano, the CTF’s Alberta Director. “The more money Alberta councillors spend, the less money that families and businesses have to weather this economic storm. That’s why every municipal council must cut all the fat and lower property taxes.”

The CTF’s report, based on data published by the Alberta government, highlights the annual per person spending for municipal governments across the province. The three cities (population above 30,000 people) spending the most per person are:

  1. Medicine Hat = $6,243 annually
  2. Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo = $5,246 annually
  3. Lethbridge = $3,965 annually

The three mid-sized municipalities (population between 5,000 and 30,000 people) spending the most per person are:

  1. Municipal District of Greenview = $14,911 annually
  2. Yellowhead County = $6,177 annually
  3. Lac La Biche County = $6,088 annually

The three small towns (population below 5,000 people) that are spending the most per person are:

  1. Municipal District of Ranchland = $23,151 annually
  2. Municipal District of Opportunity = $22,013 annually
  3. Northern Sunrise County = $16,964 annually

Alberta municipal governments tend to spend more than their counterparts in other provinces. Calgary and Edmonton spend more per person than other major Western Canadian cities and would spend $656 million and $566 million less respectively if their spending was brought in line with per person spending in the major Western Canadian cities outside Alberta.

“Alberta’s municipal per capita expenses were the second highest among provinces (behind Ontario where municipalities also deliver a range of social services),” explained the Blue Ribbon Panel on Alberta’s finances.

“Everyone needs to do their part right now and that means municipal governments need to tighten their belts like everyone else,” said Terrazzano.

The CTF’s Municipal Spending Report, based on data published by the Alberta government, can be found here.