Alderman surprised by response to $52M spending query
Provincial politicians weigh into the debate saying city should return money to taxpayers
One Calgary alderman says he's surprised at how little support there is for the city to give citizens a tax break.
The city is currently consulting with Calgarians on how it should spend $52 million in extra tax revenue that it is collecting.
The province lowered the education portion of property taxes, but city council has a policy to take that tax room when it's vacated by the province.
Ald. Gian-Carlo Carra says he recently knocked on hundreds of doors in the southeast community of Acadia and found most people say the city should use that money on needed projects but not give it back.
"I'm coming to believe that the 'give it back crowd' is more of a vocal minority than representing the broad-based position of the citizens of Calgary," he said.
How to spend the money is a dilemma that has opened some old wounds between Mayor Naheed Nenshi and the province's Minister of Municipal Affairs Doug Griffiths.
This after a war of words between the two politicians back in February over comments made by the minister about drafting a city charter for Calgary and the ratification of the Calgary Metropolitan Plan.
City money spat
Griffiths said earlier this week the money should be given back to taxpayers in the form of a property tax cut.
The minister seemed to back away from his comments on Thursday, however, saying it's up to city council to decide what to do.
But Calgary-Acadia MLA Jonathan Denis also weighed into the debate this week by tweeting that the money should be given back to homeowners.
The city is holding a series of meetings to ask Calgarians how to spend the $52 million until Sunday, as well as garnering feedback on its website calgary.ca/52million.
Options on the table include lowering taxes for homeowners in 2014, reducing non-residential property taxes, paying for transit projects, paying down debt or improving infrastructure in older neighbourhoods.
Council will vote on the matter in July.