Budget Surplus and Reserve Funds

Why is there a surplus?

The Municipal Government Act requires the Town of Canmore to adopt an operating budget where the estimated revenues must cover the estimated expenditures. This means we can't budget for a deficit. 

But, sometimes there is a surplus at the end of the year because of unanticipated increases in non-tax revenue from fees, or greater than anticipated growth, or sometimes there has been savings in expenses. 

Council’s past allocation of the operating surplus has been as follows:

Reserve 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022

General Operating







General Capital







Vital Homes





Flood Mitigation Structure Maintenance







Asset Replacement/Rehabilitation







Tax Stabilization







Development Application











What happens to the surplus?

In a typical year, the surplus is often allocated to various reserves based upon established policies, financial strategy, and future business plans and strategies. 

Reserve Funds

Canmore is sustainable only if both its capital infrastructure assets and its financial assets can be maintained over the long term. The Town of Canmore has a policy to establish reserve funds to ensure the long-term financial stability and flexibility of the Town of Canmore, to position it to respond to varying economic conditions and changes affecting the Town of Canmore’s financial position, and to ensure the organization has the ability to continuously carry out its responsibilities. 

Below are some of the reserve funds held by the Town of Canmore. To read the policy and learn about the rest of the reserve funds, see the Reserves Policy.


Fund Purpose Funding Source

General Municipal Operating

For working capital purposes, to provide funding for unanticipated operating expenditures in the course of providing municipal services, and for unforeseen general operating emergency expenditures.

One time transfers and one-time unbudgeted sources of revenue. 

Corporate Operating Contingency

Subject to multi-year budgeting being approved by Council or required by provincial legislation, to fund unexpected or emergent operating demands that arise as a natural consequence of multi-year budgeting.

Original fund established by a transfer from the general operating reserve and then annually from municipal property taxes.

Tax Stabilization

To mitigate tax rate increases in cases of an emergent, non-recurring nature.

One time transfers and one-time unbudgeted sources of revenue. 

General Municipal Capital

To fund new capital projects or for capital expenditures necessary in cases of emergency.  

Transfers from property tax revenue, unspent annual contributions to capital from operations, and one time transfers to boost reserve levels.

Asset Replacement/Rehabilitation

To fund asset rehabilitation and replacement capital projects. 

Transfers from annual operating surpluses, electrical franchise fees, budgeted transfers from municipal property tax revenue, and other one-time transfers to boost reserve levels.

Flood Mitigation Structure Maintenance

To fund the work required to maintain flood mitigation structures, particularly after an event.

Budgeted transfers from municipal property tax revenue.

Vital Homes 

To fund the construction and operation of Vital Homes units and acquisition of land as determined in consultation with Canmore Community Housing.  

Mill rate assessment on residential and non-residential sectors, and one-time transfers to boost reserve levels per Council resolution or policy.

Paid Parking

To fund improvements in areas where paid parking has been implemented, and/or to fund fare free transit services and/or to fund offsite parking related infrastructure such as intercept parking or shuttle services.

Paid parking revenues, net of program costs.

Development Application Reserve

To provide funding for scalable resourcing levels required to accommodate fluctuations in planning and development applications without requiring tax-funded support. The reserve is used to stabilize the operating budget, fund one-time operating expenditures, and fund capital expenditures related to businesses enhancements that support the  processing of development related applications.

Annual operating surpluses from fee supported operations in the Planning & Development and Engineering departments.