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HomePolicy Articles Article Summary

Big Spenders? An Expenditure Profile of Western Canada's Big Six

Report by Casey Vander Ploeg

In this study, Casey Vander Ploeg explores where and how much Western Canada’s big cities spend. Vander Ploeg’s analysis focuses on the “big six” in western Canada: Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Regina, and Winnipeg. She assesses the expenditure side of each city’s budgets to determine spending on specific services, as well as what portion of fiscal resources cater to funding those services. According to her analysis, almost 75 percentof what the cities spend is captured in four specific municipal services: protection, capital, transportation, and parks, recreation, culture and community services.

The author also examines the degree to which total spending by the big six has increased or decreased since 1990; she focuses on spending on programs, capital, and interest on municipal debt. Spending in all six cities has grown, but the increase has not been sufficient to compensate for inflation and population growth. Vander Ploeg also analyzes each municipal service area, and identifies in where spending has increased or decreased the most.

In the final portion of her study, Vander Ploeg tries to assess the fiscal health of western Canada’s cities by examining some of the long-term policy implications of current trends in big city spending patterns. She finds that the fiscal stresses facing big cities stem from generating revenue rather than spending. Vander Ploeg concludes Western Canada’s cities need to redouble their efforts for fiscal sustainability to ensure the maintenance and building of the West’s urban centres.

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Policy Publication Details

Author(s): Casey Vander Ploeg;
Publisher: Canada West Foundation [ Visit Website ]
Year Published: 2004; Publisher Type: Research Institute
Publicly Available: Yes Research Focus: Municipal;
Registration Required: Yes Language: English
Payment Required: No Publication Format: Adobe PDF

Subjects / Categories:

Policy Articles / Cities & Communities / Urban Planning
Policy Articles / Cities & Communities / Municipal Infrastructure
Policy Articles / Cities & Communities / Municipal Governance
Policy Articles / Cities & Communities / Municipal Governance / 2004
Policy Articles / Cities & Communities / Municipal Infrastructure / 2004
Policy Articles / Cities & Communities / Urban Planning / 2004
Policy Articles / Cities & Communities


Keywords / Tags:

municipal spending; municipal services; western Canadian cities; city budgets; municipal fiscal resources; municipal revenues;