I would like to take this opportunity to wish you a Happy New Year! Over the past month, many residents have contacted me with their concerns with the 2018 Budget Adjustments passed by Council. While there were some good things in the budget, I voted against it because I did not support the property tax increase and I would have liked to see more efficiencies found. The highlights of the 2018 Budget include:
- Municipal property tax rate increase of 3.8 per cent. This equates to approximately $5.70 per month for the average homeowner.
- 55 new members and body-worn cameras for the Calgary Police Service (CPS).
- $4 million in funding from reserves to continue funding the low-income transit pass.
- $4 million in additional funding for Calgary Transit.
- $3 million in funding from reserves for safe communities, youth and low-income programs, and crime prevention.
- $23.7 million to fund Green Line financing costs.
- $1.7 billion capital investment in Calgary infrastructure.
I will note that much of this tax increase is due to the provincial and federal governments downloading costs and responsibilities to The City. With the federal government planning to legalize marijuana, CPS requested a significant funding increase to deal with the adverse effects of this federal policy. Furthermore, there has been an increase in crime throughout the City. I supported the additional funding for CPS as it is important to me that we do what we can to keep our communities safe.
The City also informed me that the Provincial Carbon Tax is costing the City of Calgary $8 million in higher fuel and heating costs. This provincial tax on The City has resulted in 0.5 per cent property tax increase. I will continue to do what I can to keep taxes low and find savings and efficiencies within The City.