The next week will be the most important week of Council’s term as we debate The City of Calgary’s four year business plan and budget. To help set priorities, we asked Calgarians what services they most value and the result is The City’s Action Plan 2015-2018. I encourage you to spend a little time on the City’s webpage to get a sense of what is proposed.
Top of mind for many Calgarians will be the change to the property tax rate. To put property tax into context, the median annual property tax bill, after the Provincial Education portion (40%) is removed, is $1611.21 or $134.26 per month. Think about that for a moment. For $134.26 a month, Calgarians enjoy police and fire services to keep them safe, recreation facilities and programming to help keep them fit, public parks and libraries, transit services to keep the city moving, road and sidewalk repair, snow-clearing and a long list of other services. For most Calgarians, this is lower than the Canadian average monthly household cell phone and cable bill ($191.00).
The City will also be releasing the results of the 2014 Citizen Satisfaction Survey. After reviewing the results, I am pleased to see that Calgarians continue to value the services that The City provides. This is particularly the case in Ward 7 – 78% of Ward 7 residents are satisfied with the overall level and quality of services and programs provided by The City of Calgary and 90% believe we are on the right track to becoming a better city. What I found most exciting is neighbourhood pride is significantly higher (94%) in Ward 7 than all other wards.
The survey also asked residents where they would like to see more investment. The top priority identified in Ward 7 is transit. This is especially important when considering that transit ridership is up while the proposed budget for 2015-2018 includes cuts to transit service. That means that we won’t meet our targets set by Council in the Calgary Transportation Plan (see graph below). I plan to raise the issue of transit funding when we discuss the Calgary Transit budget.
As important, or perhaps even more so (although it receives less attention), is the four-year capital budget. While it’s important that we fund infrastructure projects for a growing city, I will continue to advocate for adequate lifecycle maintenance and re-investment in aging infrastructure for existing communities.
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.