Thursday, May 16, 2013

How should The City use $52 million?


Today, City Council announced a new public engagement asking Calgarians how The City should use the $52 million of provincial tax room.

“This is a significant amount of unbudgeted money,” said Mayor Nenshi. “We’ve debated five options in Council—all of which reflect the priorities of Calgarians—and this is our opportunity to engage with citizens to hear what they think before Council makes a decision in July.”

City Council wants all citizens to give input on all or any of the five options. There are three ways citizens can get their input to City Council:
  • Online at calgary.ca/52million
  • Attending face to face opportunities at five different locations in Calgary over the next two weeks  (schedule below)
  • Contacting 311
City Council is also preparing a public debate, moderated by former Dragon's Den panelist Brett Willson, at the Devonian Gardens on Tuesday, May 28, from 12 p.m. – 12:45 p.m.

Currently, about 60 per cent of the property taxes citizens pay goes to The City for operations including police, fire, 9-1-1, road maintenance, parks and recreation facilities. The other 40 per cent goes directly to the Province.

City Council approved the 2013 budget in November 2012. The Province, after its budget in March 2013, actually requested less of its estimated portion of 40 per cent than had been anticipated.

That means that, with the same budget approved last November, The City now has $52 million more than expected. Council policy states that this money cannot be used for day-to-day operational expenses, but may be used for capital projects, which The City often asks the Province to help fund, or debt reduction.

City Council has come up with five options for using this tax room that will provide value for Calgarians. They are:
  1. “Let the buses roll!” Creating a new dedicated capital fund for Calgary Transit
  2. “Give business a break!” Reducing the tax rate for businesses
  3. “Revitalize our communities!” Investing in maintenance and renewal of older neighbourhoods
  4. “Drop the debt!” Reducing The City’s debt and our annual interest payments
  5. “Give it back!” Lowering the taxes that homeowners pay
City Council will carefully review all feedback and use the information in helping them to decide how to use the $52 million when Council meets in July.

Please visit calgary.ca/52million for more information and to have your say from 2:00 pm, May 16, 2013 through 12:00 midnight, June 2, 2013.

$52 Million face-to-face engagement opportunities:

LocationDate/Time
Bankers HallWednesday May 22
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Stephen AvenueWednesday May 29
11:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Northland Village MallFriday May 31
2 – 6 p.m.
Chinook CentreSaturday June 1
9:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
South CentreSaturday June 1
1:30 – 5:30 p.m.
Sunridge MallSunday June 2
11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

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