Consulted Calgarians OK with tax hike if services maintained
7K people participated in the city's open budget consultation process
Some Calgarians are telling the city they're okay with another property tax hike — if it means maintaining the services they want.
Nearly 7,000 people weighed in during the city’s public budget consultation.
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Mayor Naheed Nenshi says he's pleased Calgarians gave their thoughts at a budget open house in a mall, visited the budget bus travelling around the city and typed their opinions into the city's website.
He says they're learning the challenge of making a city budget — every year, it costs more to provide the same amount of services in a growing city.
“If you don't do much of anything and just try to maintain service levels to what they are now, you're still looking at about a five per cent, 5.2 per cent tax increase,” said Nenshi.
And five per cent is coincidentally what it will cost to maintain the services Calgarians are telling the City they expect it to provide.
But some councillors question who is providing the feedbac, saying it may not truly represent all Calgarians.
Coun. Ward Sutherland says lowering that five per cent number depends on the city's contract negotiations with its employees.
“Five per cent is really high, but there's inflationary problems we're going to have with these wage increases and whether or not we can get them down or not is going to have an impact on the increase overall.”
The final report on the budget consultation will be done later this month and council is expected to get target rates May 5 for future property tax hikes in this fall's four-year budget.