City of Calgary unveils changes to budget

Changes to next year's budget for Calgary are now being unveiled at City Hall, with property tax and spending to 911 call centre among the highlights.
Several million dollars in adjustments to next year's civic budget were unveiled at City Hall. 0:45

Changes to next year's budget for Calgary are now being unveiled at City Hall.

The draft budget calls for a property tax of 5.7 per cent for next year.

It includes increases in spending for the city's 911 call centre and for its new emergency operations centre, which costs almost $3 million a year.

Administrators have found a way to pay for the budget over-run on the soon-to-be-opened West LRT. They want to take the money from a proposed new interchange at 16th Avenue and Bowfort Road northwest, but that could delay the interchange indefinitely.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi says he will push to limit next year's tax increase to the proposed 5.7 per cent or less, as that is above the rate of the city's growth plus inflation.

"We're 0.2 per cent off of that number right now — 5.5 versus 5.7 per cent — so I will certainly keep looking with my sharpened pencil for more efficiencies, but I want to be realistic about the fact that we worked hard on that last year and came up with a large number of efficiencies for the public," Nenshi explained.

City council will finalize next year's budget later this month.