Thank you to all who participated in the budget process to help Council set priorities. In December, Council approved the 2015-2018 Action Plan which sets out plans and budgets over the next four years. During budget deliberations, I championed investment in services that are important to Ward 7 residents, such as public transit, pedestrian access, parks, and the environment.
Here are some highlights from Action Plan 2015-2018:
The plan represents a lean budget for a growing city, with $50 million in efficiencies found by City Administration. The approved 2015 average monthly tax increase of $5.95 will maintain service levels in most departments, with service cuts for transit-users and pedestrians.
- While Council added 70,000 new hours for transit routes in new communities, the funds are not sufficient for Calgary Transit to achieve its strategic plan.
- I’m very pleased that the Low Income Transit Pass rate was frozen for 2015, benefiting all low income passengers.
- Tree Disaster Recovery received one-time funding of $35 million from emergency reserves to restore Calgary’s urban forest, devastated by the September snow storm.
- Calgary Police Services will add 10 officers over the next two years; far from what is required given the rapid growth of our City.
Despite my support for services valued by Ward 7 residents, there are areas of concern that I will follow closely as we roll out the Action Plan over the next four years:
- Cuts to Environment and Safety Management will eliminate the solar panel project for community associations and limit our progress as environmental leaders.
- Transit, identified as a top priority for Calgarians, will not achieve their strategic plan at current funding levels.
- A $2 million (15 percent) cut to pedestrian infrastructure, a small fraction of the $2.3 billion Transportation budget, will further compromise pedestrian access.
- The constrained Police budget may erode our record-low crime rates. Council will work closely with the Calgary Police Commission to monitor any impacts on service levels.
I’d like to thank City Staff for their hard work and the citizens of Calgary for your participation. We will continue to monitor emerging trends and growth rates over the next four years.
For Ward 7 information, please visit druhfarrell.ca
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.