Calgary councillors approve decrease in property tax hike
CALGARY – City councillors approved an adjustment to the 2016-2018 operating budget Monday, which includes a decrease in next year’s tax hike. The change is part of an effort to alleviate some of the pressure the current economic slump has put on cash-strapped Calgarians.
The previously-approved 4.7 per cent tax hike planned for 2016 will now be lowered to 3.5 per cent.
The city said the change is possible without any service cuts through efficiency savings and by borrowing from reserve funds.
Chief financial officer Eric Sawyer said in a statement that moving the tax rate increase down to 3.5 per cent amounts to a reduction of about $18 million in base funding, which council approved to be covered initially through corporate costs. The city said that amount will be allocated to departments “following approval.”
The move means the average household will only see taxes grow by $4.90 a month next year (compared to $6.75 per month at 4.7 per cent.)
Councillors won’t be able to lower previously-approved increases to transit fees or utility charges such as wastewater and drainage rates.
A “capital stimulus budget” will be presented by administration on Nov. 25 for council’s approval.
With files from Sarah Offin and Erika Tucker
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