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Ward 4 News: Utility Rate Amendments

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Ward 4 official website

On Monday September 19th, during the regularly scheduled Strategic Council meeting, I put forward two amendments to limit Utility rate increases for water and drainage to 0%. Did I think that Council was going to pass my amendment? No. Was I hoping for more support than just one vote from Councillor Magliocca? Yes.

I put this amendment forward for six very important reasons:

1) I want to show Calgarians that I am listening to them. That I am hearing them loud and clear when they say they are struggling to keep up with tax increases during these tough economic times.

​2) Calgarians are currently facing numerous cost of living increases, including a carbon tax and a minimum wage increase, so at some point people will hit their breaking points. 
​3) Calgarians have been dealing with tax increases for services they deem as “wants” instead of needs for a long time. So, if I argue that essential service tax increases should start at 0% then perhaps my message to limit the more frivolous spending will get through. 
4) All tax increases disproportionately affect seniors, vulnerable populations and low income earners. And, this tax increase is no exception to that rule. Those most vulnerable will feel this increase the most.
5) As leaders, Council needs to continuously demonstrate to those who elected us, pay our salaries and to whom we are sworn to serve, that we are trying our best to find savings. 
6) Without these types of amendments the starting point for tax increases always seems to be significantly higher than 0%. Perhaps tax and rate increases should start at 0% and then Administration can articulate why those numbers should be higher.

Instead of simply defaulting to tax and rate increases Council should look at other ways to deal with our current fiscal issues:

1) We should work with Administration to continually push to find cost savings. Before any tax increase is considered Council should first be able to see the savings found and then articulate why an increase is still required.
2) We should continually, but especially in tough economic times, demonstrate how we are looking for ways to reduce staffing through attrition.
​3) We should promote efficiency throughout the City by highlighting to tax payers when business units perform under budget.   

As always, I will continue to voice the concerns of those I represent. If you would like to connect with me on these amendments I put forward please contact me at (403) 268-3727 or by email at ward04@calgary.ca.

Thank you for your attention,

Sean Chu Ward 4


This content represents the personal views and opinions of the Ward 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.
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