In Depth

Calgary city council vote in favour of 5.5% property tax hike

City council has passed next year's city budget with a vote of 10-4.
City council is debating whether to spend more on priority areas or lower next year's tax hike. 2:27

City council has passed next year's budget by a vote of 10-4.

The four aldermen voting against the budget were Peter Demong, Andre Chabot, Dale Hodges and Shane Keating.

The budget includes a property tax increase of 5.5 per cent, which will add about $75 to the average homeowner's tax bill.

The full extent of the tax hike will be finalized in the spring — when the province sets the rate for the education portion of property tax.

Council members continue to debate on how to spend an extra $10-million to improve city facilities and services.

Aldermen, like Andre Chabot and Peter Demong, say giving the money back to homeowners could have lowered next year's property tax hike to 4.8 percent, but others are drawing up plans to spend that cash.

City council will resume the debate on its $3 billion budget today at 1 p.m. MT. (CBC)

Ald. Brian Pincott says Calgarians get services for their taxes, so he resents the notion that people don't get anything for their money.

"The characterization that taxation is taking something that we shouldn't take, that we have to give back — well damn it, we're here giving it back every single day," Pincott said.

A tax reduction would mean the average homeowner would pay $1 a month less.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi said, while that's important, it shouldn't be the sole point of the debate.

"For me, rather than have that discussion, I prefer to say as a city, what do we invest in?" Nenshi said. "I mean our property taxes are still the lowest of any major city in Canada."

Budget details



  • Operating budget: $3 billion. This is the first time city's annual spending has cracked that level.


  • $4 m taken from police budget. This will have no impact on the Calgary Police Service as fine revenues from tickets higher than expected.


  • $1.9 m added to cover cost of extending eligibility for the monthly low-income transit pass.  22,000 more people qualify. That pass, now priced at $40 a month, rises to $44 a month in 2013


Seniors annual transit pass

  • It’s $55 a year but will jump to $95 for 2013.
  • The eligibility is raised for seniors low income pass so 6,000 more qualify for it. 


911 call centre

  • $822,000 bump in funding and 6 more operators added to deal with rising call volumes.
  • Additional $2.1 million to run the new Emergency Operations Centre for responding to major emergencies.
  • Additional $1.25 million added for improvements to Access Calgary — 50,000 more trips per year for disabled clients.
  • Additional 25,000 hours to Calgary Transit paid for through increased revenues.


Fares and fee changes



  • Adult cash bus fare:  now $2.75, goes to $3.00 in 2013.
  • Adult 10 tickets:      now $27.50, goes to $30.00 in 2013.
  • Adult day pass:  now $8.25 goes to $9 in 2013.
  • Youth day pass: now $5.25 goes to $5.75 in 2013.


Ice time

  • Prime time (1 hr) $218.95 goes to $229.90 in 2013.
  • Leisure centres:  general admission:  $10.60 goes to $11.00 in 2013.
  • Swimming pools:  tier 1 $5.35 goes to $5.55, tier 2 $ 6.30 goes to $6.55.
  • Golf punch card:   maple ridge:   $459.00 goes to $477 in 2013, other courses: $408.00 goes to $419 in 2013.


Recycling fees

  • Blue cart  $7.10 goes to $7.40.
  • Waste management fee  $4.50 goes to 4.70 in 2013.


Water rates

  • Flat rate:    $62.87 a month goes to $67.58.
  • Metered rate: average monthly charge:   $41.91 goes to $45.05 in 2013.



  • Flat rate:    $41.09 goes to $46.63 in 2013.
  • Metered rate avg monthly charge:  $27.42 goes to $31.12.
  • Stormwater:   monthly drainage fee:  $8.36 goes to $8.77.