Calgary city council has voted to cut $4 million from the police budget because fine revenues have come in higher than expected.
Police just don't need as much taxpayer money. If the police budget reduction is passed on to homeowners, it would lower next year's property tax hike from 5.7 per cent to 5.3 per cent.
"Every year we have seen a surplus in projected revenues from fines and so, you know, as long as people continue to break the law, we'll continue to see these sort of revenues," said Ald. Diane Colley-Urquhart.
But council may decide to spend some of that money on other priorities, such as lowering bus fares for low-income riders. City hall's $3-billion budget must be finalized by the end of this week.
Under the proposed budget, transit service will be boosted, new 911 operators will be hired and the city's new round-the-clock emergency operations centre will open.
The new centre is where city officials can direct responses to situations like flooding, tornadoes or other emergencies. Nenshi has criticized the $2.1-million a year price tag — asking why no one planned for the annual cost to run it.
"I really want to be very clear that administration has been as efficient as they can in thinking about this and also really ask the question why this wasn't baked into the three-year budget already?" Nenshi said.
For the third budget in a row, Ald. Peter Demong is likely to vote against the budget, saying the tax hike is just too high. If the planned tax hike goes ahead, it will add about $80 a year to the average homeowner's property tax bill.