received their 2016 Property Tax bills at the end of May or first week of June.
I heard from many of you that household finances are constrained and that relief
would be welcomed. Around this time, on May 30, 2016, Council received a
presentation of economic scenarios, the impacts of the economy on the community
and the City, and an update of the City’s financial projections and emerging
financial challenges during the current economic climate. We also received
notice in the spring that the Provincial property tax bill, which represents
about 40 percent of your total taxes, would be increasing by 10.2 percent.
elected representative at City Hall, I listen carefully and weigh decisions and
outcomes. I have heard Ward 6 residents’
needs for property tax relief while at the same time an increasing demand for
City services, especially during challenging economic times. Further complicating our economic pressures
is that Calgary grew by 21,000 people in 2015 and is currently on pace to grow
by about 20,000 more people this year.
At the May
30th meeting, Council directed Administration to report back on corporate
reserve options and options for reducing the 2017 tax rate from the previously
approved 4.7 percent to increments between 3.2 and zero percent. This included
identifying potential service impacts to varying levels of tax rate options
along with associated short and long term risks. Administration returned to report
these findings at the June 27, 2016 Strategic Meeting of Council for discussion
27th report builds on a series of strategic discussions with
Council over the past six months.
Administration undertook extensive research, consultation and citizen
engagement to better understand how the current economic climate has
impacted the wider community and the City. This work found a number of changes
and negative impacts that have emerged as a result of the downturn. Council directed
Administration to make the one-year freeze on 2016 user fees permanent. Council accepted the report and unanimously approved
a residential and business property tax rate increase of zero percent for 2017.
important to recall that your property tax essentially pays for the operating
budget and the delivery of services to you. A key challenge for Council was
reconciling the general public support for capital infrastructure investment
(for example catching up with roads and bridges construction from the last few
years of high growth to ease traffic congestion), and to also support local economic
stimulus. The capital budget, which is mainly funded by the gas tax and grants from
other orders of government, for 2017 is currently $1.5 billion. This will, of
course, trigger new operating costs.
These may include the salaries of firefighters in a new fire hall or the
maintenance of a new road or interchange. Having reduced the operating budget
to a zero increase, Council voted to fund the operating costs of new capital
investments in 2017 with a one-time draw of $15 million from the Fiscal
For more information about how your Property Tax is
calculated, options for payment and assistance programs, please visit calgary.ca/propertytax.