Many of you have read about the proposed tax hike in Calgary. Below is a summary of the issues, as well as what I am prepared to do to support my residents. If you wish to communicate further with me, my office would be happy to arrange a phone call. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (404) 268-2430.
What does an indicative tax increase mean?
An indicative tax increase means that the tax number proposed should be “explored” and is not the final number. After an indicative tax hike is agreed upon, the administration must work towards a projected budget to meet this number, and after, further adjustments can occur.
Administration recommended to Council an indicative 5.5% tax hike increase for inflation pressures. 3.3% is for inflation and salary increases (e.g. police, fire); 1.4% for the gap between what revenue the city brings in and the expenses to operate the city; .8% for growth factor, which is a total of 5.5%. During yesterday’s council meeting, I advocated to remove the .8% for growth, because our current year operating budget surplus has equalled this amount. Council agreed to the estimated indicative tax increase of 4.7%. Keep in mind that the 4.7% is NOT the approved tax increase. We will be resuming an in-depth budget review from November 24 to December 5, 2014, where I believe there is further cost savings to be considered in the 1.4% gap.
Utilities were reviewed in detail, namely water, waste water, drainage, waste and recycle. The water utility is facing upward pressures on rates to keep up with the pace of a growing city, increasingly stringent regulatory requirements, and to maintain assets. Essential water infrastructure investments are required to protect public health and to continue to provide high quality services to meet the growing needs of Calgary. The increases of utilities are high, as they represent a $201.00 yearly increase by 2018 for each homeowner.
Council also set indicative rates for Waste & Recycling Services. This included a $6.50 monthly fee for Green Cart composting service which is scheduled to start in 2017. The Green Cart composting program builds on the success of the pilot program which has seen participants reduce garbage by 40%. Material that would have been buried in the landfills is now being turned into useful compost. Green cart fees will only start when the service is launched in 2017. Other indicative rates that were set include an inflationary increase to Blue Cart Recycling monthly household fee by $0.20 in 2015. The waste management charge will not increase.
Why such a drastic increase?
Our infrastructure is not keeping up with our population growth in Calgary and outside of Calgary. We must expand the BonnyBrook sewage plant, improve our water and upgrade our drainage issues.
How could this happen?
The issue is basically two fold. Firstly, council did not budget and plan over the past 10 years to address infrastructure requirements in the future. Secondly, Calgary supplies surrounding communities with services, which have more than doubled in size. As well, these communities do not commensurate the financial infrastructure costs required for expansion due to constraints over current regulation.
What can I do as a resident (tax payer) to reduce the proposed Utility increases?
Calgary is supplying outside communities with services. The Provincial and Federal governments should be participating in the financing of the infrastructure. These upgrades serve more than just Calgarians.
We encourage residents to contact their MLA and MP to request that the Province/Federal government contribute to the cost of these upgrades to infrastructure that can be delayed no longer. Please note I have attached a list of MLAs and MPs in Ward 1, and the communities they serve.
I understand the financial pressures many residents are experiencing and I will continue to represent Ward One and fight for the lowest taxes possible. I am gravely concerned about the negative impact of tax increases to all Calgarians, particularly for the welfare of seniors, single parents, and those on a fixed income. I will endeavour to represent you and advocate for the vulnerable.
Councillor for Ward
MLA by Community
Calgary Bow: Valley Ridge, Greenwood, Crestmont, COP, Bowness
6307 Bowness Rd NW
Canada T3B 0E4
Phone: (403) 216-5400
Fax: (403) 216-5402
Calgary Varsity: Varsity, Montgomery, University Heights
#101, 5403 Crowchild Trail NW
Canada T3B 4Z1
Phone: (403) 216-5436
Fax: (403) 216-5438
Calgary Hawkwood: Silver Springs
MLA Jason Luan
#29, 735 Ranchlands Blvd NW
Canada T3G 3A9
Phone: (403) 216-5444
Fax: (403) 216-5442
Calgary Northwest: Scenic Acres, Tuscany
MLA Sandra Jensen
Suite 7223, 8650 - 112th Avenue NW
Calgary, AB T3R 0R5
Phone: (403) 297-7104
Fax: (403) 297-7121
Member of Parliament for Calgary
11 Spruce Centre SW
Calgary, AB T3C 3B3
E-mail: RobAnders@telus.net or email@example.com
1107 - 17th Ave NW
Calgary, AB T2M 0P7
Phone (403) 282-7980
Fax (403) 282-3587
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
This content represents the personal views and opinions of the Councillor and should not be taken as a statement of policy of The City of Calgary. The inclusion of any external content does not imply endorsement by The City of Calgary.