Calgary

$42M in taxes should go to city coffers: Nenshi

The province is lowering the education portion of Calgary's property tax bill, but the savings might not be passed on to city taxpayers.

The province is lowering the education portion of Calgary's property tax bill, but the savings might not be passed on to city taxpayers.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi said he wants to use that tax room to get more money for the city's priorities, like reducing interest payments on current projects like the west LRT line.

He also wants the money to be used on projects the city can't currently pay for, like repairing leaky roofs on indoor swimming pools and upgrading sports fields.

The lowered education portion of the tax bill amounts to $42 million, or as Nenshi puts it, $3 a month for every household.

"I have never heard of a citizen who sits down with their tax bill and goes, 'This is precisely the percentage that's going to these guys, and this is precisely the percentage that's going to those guys,'" Nenshi said.

"We had told Calgarians that it's going to be about four dollars and 50 cents a month on your average bill, and that's precisely what it's going to be."

Nenshi said he checked with Premier Ed Stelmach as to what his intentions were in lowering the education tax in the provincial budget. Stelmach said municipalities could use the money where it was needed, and not necessarily for lowering taxes, according to Nenshi.

Nenshi said Calgarians have accepted a 4.4 per cent property tax hike for this year, which is equal to the rate of inflation plus city growth.

On Monday, the mayor will ask council to approve directing the additional tax revenue into city coffers.