Calgary City Council Prepares to Make Budget Adjustments to Try to Keep Property Taxes Flat in 2022 – Calgary | The Canadian News

Calgary’s city council is meeting Monday to discuss potential changes to the 2022 budget, with some saying it will be increasingly difficult to maintain a zero increase in the tax rate.

As the 2022 budget tightening process gets underway on Monday with 11 new councilors at the table, they will face some old problems, including less revenue.

“The costs are something they have tried to reduce for years. The fact that revenues have dropped so drastically, both from property taxes and because the provincial government is taking a larger share of those taxes, has meant that the challenges facing this new council are going to be enormous, ”said Lori. Williams, Mount Royal Associate Professor of Policy Studies.

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City officials said in May that their goal is to keep the property tax rate flat in 2022, but Ward 9 Coun. Gian-Carlo Carra doesn’t have much hope on that, partly because of salaries.

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Carra said it will be difficult to say no to the city’s employee pay increases after the province in October reached an agreement with 22,000 members of the Alberta Provincial Employees Union, which included a 1.25 percent pay increase. in 2023.

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“We really are not going to be in a position to argue otherwise. I think we were planning for everyone to hang on, and it doesn’t seem like that’s the case now, ”Carra said Sunday.

“They gave the unions a necessary raise, and there is no way our city government can negotiate otherwise.”

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Carra said the city’s current position, where spending has not kept up with inflation and population growth for many years, is not sustainable.

“We have a world-class park system, but we keep it alive on life support within our budget. I hear all the time, ‘I want this and I need this,’ and that takes money. We hear that about snow and ice control, and we’ve also been scaling back our emergency response, ”Carra said.

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“I don’t think there is room to cut back without seeing the real implications of frontline service.”

The city council cut property taxes this year by 1.7 percent.

Last year’s budget adjustments included about $ 90 million in cuts.

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“We are at a point where if we want to build a better city, we need to invest in that city. We are not going to reduce ourselves to the prosperity we deserve, ”Carra said.

The city will begin a new four-year budget cycle next year.

“You are going to start to get an idea of ​​the values ​​of this city council and the type of city that this city council wants to build and the type of city that Calgarians want in this budget cycle. But it’s going to be a test, ”Carra said.

“You’re going to see what the budget is really about and what the business plan is really about and what kind of city we want to build in the next budget cycle.”

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