Calgary council wants to see budget with 0 to 2% tax hike in November
After several hours of debate, Calgary city council has asked administration to come back with a budget in November 2017 that allows for a property tax increase of between zero and two per cent.
Four councillors opposed a tax hike, some even calling for a tax decrease.
Councillor Joe Magliocca said Monday that in tough times, families have to make tough decisions and scale back spending. He said he believes the city should do the same.
“It’s got to stop, the bleeding’s got to stop sooner [rather] than later,” he said, questioning the billions of dollars the city is spending on the Green Line LRT and other projects.
Councillor Ward Sutherland added the operating budget has never been cut, only increased. Councillor Peter Demong added that small expenses start to add up over time for Calgary families.
“If we look back for the last seven years [at] what these increases have done…to the average Calgarian, you are starting to get up towards those triple digits on a monthly basis. It does eventually hit home,” he said, adding he believes there is room in the operating budget to make cuts.
Others on council, including Councillor Richard Pootman, worried about quality of life and how cuts to the operating budget could impact Calgarians.
“If we start to demonstrate a lack of confidence in our future and a lack of understanding of the quality we offer—we’re nowhere,” Pootmans said. “We’ll become a little summer village of 100,000 people in the next generation.”
Council did not look at what will happen with the 1.5 per cent rebate from the rainy day fund, which brings the 2017 property tax hike to zero, or the 1.4 per cent in tax room given up by the province.
When you combine those with the two per cent rate, Calgarians could face a 4.9 per cent tax increase in 2018.
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