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Ward 1 News: Tax Hike in 2018

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The following is from the Calgary Sun article, "Calgary city hall brass want a tax hike in 2018 with a final tab beyond the advertised 2% increase" by Rick Bell, published on May 12, 2017.

 Tax Hike 2018

'No wonder we didn't get this report from the big blue playpen until just before city hall's Friday quitting time. No wonder we didn't get this report from the big blue playpen until just before city hall's Friday quitting time.

Look like we're probably getting another tax hike in 2018 and some other costly chickens could come home to roost on your property tax bill next year.

After the October election.

But first let's remind everybody what city hall has done to you in the past.

Starting in 2011 and ending in 2017, in the seven years of the self-styled "real fiscal conservative" Mayor Nenshi, the total increase in property taxes is quite the number.

With your tax hikes compounding as each year's tax increase is laid on top of the last one, the total property tax bill is up just shy of 51%.

Let's say it again. All together now. 51%. A 51% tax increase.

Actually 50.98%, to be exact.

The average yearly tax increase for the seven years is just over 6% a year.

Actually 6.06%, to be exact.

On Monday, city council will tell the city brass to build a budget based on a certain tax hike.

The brass are suggesting a 2% tax increase.

In the fine print of a city report we didn't receive until late Friday, there is more information.

The city's financial wizards admit the hit on your 2018 tax bill will look different than the 2%.

You see, there was a 1.5% tax hike this year but you didn't pay it. You got a rebate.

In 2018, you will likely pay.

Then the province left millions on the table and city council gave you the break. For one year.

If they take the tax break in 2018, that's a 1.4% increase.

Now you're looking at what amounts to about a 5% hike.

While we're on the subject of increases, utility rates are expected to go up 2.5% but in 2019 and beyond we'll likely see "higher increases than previously indicated."

So there you have it.

City higher-ups say making the 2% into a zero "could have some significant service impacts."

Just in case you didn't get the message, they say if the politicians try to cut the 2% tax hike "administration will be required to reduce services further and have a reduced ability to manage unfavourable costs."

This is meant to scare you.

No mention is made of city hall's complete unwillingness to bring in a wage freeze.

The union folks know what's up. They walk into the room and the city hall stiffs roll over, get a belly rub and the unions walk away with higher wages.

This year, it's a 4% pay increase. Don't blame the unions. They're fighting for their members. City hall represents the rest of us.

God help us.

The city bigshots tell us a tax hike will help pay the interest on the Green Line LRT.

You're already paying for this shortened version of the Green Line, the one not going to the city's far north or deep south.

Remember the $52 million provincial tax break the city scooped from you? That went to this shorter Green Line.

Coun. Ward Sutherland has a bagful of buttons ready for the council meeting Monday when all this stuff is being discussed.

The button reads Mind The Gap, inspired by the London Underground's warning to passengers to look out for the gap between the train door and the station platform.

The button, looking like the London Underground logo, points to minding the gap between the city's revenue and its spending.

The city's revenues have gone down.

"It's basic economics. Revenue and expenses. You have to mind the gap between the two. Revenues are down and therefore expenses have to come down," says Sutherland.

"We can't afford to be jacking up the revenue through taxes so therefore we're going to have to do cuts. We need to reduce the size of city government."

Sutherland says it's high time the city looked at contracting out services to private companies to save dollars.

He suggests doing that with waste removal in one-third of the city.

Labour talks are about to start. Sutherland would like to see city contracts with a wage reduction in the first year and then some zeros.

As for what city council requires in these trying times.

"We need more people who astutely understand finances and can actually really take a look at our finances."

You got that right.'

 

(Bell, R. 2017, May 12. Calgary city hall brass want a tax hike in 2018 with a final tab beyond the advertised 2% increase. Calgary Sun. Retrieved from http://www.calgarysun.com)

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