Privatize more city services says Manning Foundation

A report from the Manning Foundation in Calgary suggests Alberta municipalities should privatize more services in order to reduce spending.

Manning Foundation report says current municipal spending is unsustainable

Ben Brunnen produced a report for the Manning Foundation in Calgary which suggests municipalities should privatize more services. (CBC)

A report from the Manning Foundation Calgary suggests Alberta municipalities should privatize more services in order to reduce spending.

According to the report released on Thursday, Alberta towns and cities have increased their spending by 55 per cent over the past six years.

The report estimates in Calgary spending has increased by 51 percent and taxes have gone up by 31 per cent in the same time period.

The organization says that spending cannot be sustained so municipalities should consider privatizing more services.

"Re-imagining service delivery is really about consistency and efficiency," said Ben Brunnen who produced the report.

It recommends privatizing services such as garbage pickup, cemeteries and sports facilities.

"Even water and electricity could be outsourced, provided the appropriate performance management frameworks are in place at a municipal level and that's what we're recommending," said Brunnen.

Taxpayer pushback

The Manning Foundation released the report on the same day that Alberta mayors gathered in Calgary for the annual meeting of the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association.

Brooks mayor Martin Shield, in Calgary for that meeting, said there is a need to discuss the increases in municipal taxes.

"It is a problem because you've got now a lot of new people elected, an election just happened and there's been a lot of push back from property owners saying, how much property taxes can we afford."

In Calgary, a recent citizen survey indicated the majority of respondents would accept a tax increase if existing services are maintained or expanded.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.