Calgary

Calgary city budget debate: Council votes for slightly reduced tax hike

City council voted unanimously Monday afternoon to cut Calgary's property tax hike to 4.5 per cent next year.

Property tax increase now proposed at 4.5%

Calgary city councillors continued debating the budget on Monday. (Scott Dippel/CBC)

City council voted unanimously Monday afternoon to cut Calgary's property tax hike to 4.5 per cent next year.

It comes during the second week of debate for the city budget, which expected to bring annual property tax increases of 4.7 per cent for the next four years and several utility rate hikes.

Additional 2015 costs for median home ($430,000)
Property tax $5.95 a month $71.40 a year
Blue cart $0.20 a month $2.40 a year
Water meter $0.64 a month $7.58 a year
Wastewater  $5.98 a month $71.76 a year
Drainage $1.76 a month $21.12 a year
Total  $14.53 a month $174.26 a year

Councillors learned Monday that lower employee benefit costs would free up roughly $7 million, which would have reduced next year's property tax increase to 4.2 per cent.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi said earlier in the day that he wanted like to see the money used to reduce the rate, but also to help bolster other services. 

"I would like to utilize some of that towards the priorities we've heard citizens talk about, particularly around mobility for people with disabilities, the elderly and transit," he said.

Councillors also voted to use city savings to replenish the snow and ice control reserve fund at a cost of $5 million for each of the next two years.

Nenshi said with millions of dollars’ worth of efficiencies already worked into the budget, finding more places to cut was tough.

“It was very, very difficult compared to previous years to go through and find savings, which as you know has always been my practice. There were a few in here. I think it will be difficult to find them in future years.”

Monday was the sixth and final day of debate on Calgary’s first four-year budget, which passed in a 14-1 vote. The only one to oppose the budget was Ward 4 Coun. Sean Chu.

  • CBC city hall reporter Scott Dippel was in council chambers tweeting the debate. Follow along below:

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