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Calgary administration finds $60M in proposed cuts to the budget

City of Calgary administration says given the short time frame in finding $60 million to cut from the rest of this year's operating budget, they are proposing cuts across the board.
City of Calgary administration says given the short time frame in finding $60 million to cut from the rest of this year's operating budget, they are proposing cuts across the board. Carolyn Kury de Castillo/Global News

City of Calgary administration says given the short time frame in finding $60 million to cut from the rest of this year’s operating budget, they are proposing cuts across the board.

In response to soaring non-residential property taxes because of the gutting in downtown property values, Calgary City Council voted to give those ratepayers a 10 per cent reduction in their taxes from 2018.

READ MORE: Spike in property tax bills shocks Calgary business owners

To do that, one-time funding of $70.9 million is being combined with $60 million in cuts.

In a report going to next week’s council meeting, $11.3 million in reductions is being found through efficiencies, the rest of the cuts from what the city states as a position of doing the “least harm.”

Many of the reductions come from delaying or cancelling new or enhanced services, but impacts will be felt on front-line services. However, the specifics of those are being kept under wrap until council meets on Tuesday.

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Councillor Diane Colley-Urquhart told Global News this isn’t the end of belt-tightening at the city.

“It’s not going to end at $60 million, we’re going to demand more.”

The Ward 13 councillor believes more savings can be found.

“Some of us are meeting on Monday to find other external ways to have someone come in. I’m of the view that we need an external group to come in with experts and look at the city’s operations because city administration is too close to this.”

READ MORE: 6 city services under review as Calgary councillors look for ways to cut budget

There is a dollar figure of what each department will face in reductions, but no specifics have been given on what that will mean. The biggest city departments will see the largest cuts: $7 million or more for each fire and police; $6.8 million for transit and $6.2 million in corporate programs.

The report talks about job losses at the city but a number of losses will come from vacant and unfilled positions and not hiring for new positions.