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Ward 8 News: 2018 Budget Adjustments

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Ward 8 official website
Last week, my colleagues and I on City Council completed 2018 budget adjustments to the Action Plan. The approved 2018 Adjustments focus on the operating budget and the need to realign operating expenses with revenues, given changes in the economic outlook. With drops in transit ridership, landfill tipping costs and franchise fees Council was facing a $146 Million budget shortfall. Understanding this, we asked all departments at the City of Calgary to review their budgets and come forward with suggestions on ways to make savings and close this budget gap. Our goal through this process has always been to ensure that the required budget cuts had as little of an impact to front line services for Calgarians as possible.
Here is a high-level summary of Council’s decisions following several days of deliberations:
-       Municipal tax rate increase of 0.9 per cent. Combined with the carry-forward of 2.9 per cent tax rate increase that was rebated in 2017, taxpayers will see an average 3.8 per cent increase on the municipal portion of their 2018 property tax bill. This equates to approximately $5.70 per month for the average homeowner.
-       Closure of the $146 million operating budget gap through a combination of cost savings and service reductions based on the least harm approach.
-       55 new members and body-worn cameras for the Calgary Police Service.
-       $4 million in one-time funding from reserves to continue funding the low income transit pass for Calgarians in need.
-       $3 million in one-time funding from reserves for safe communities, youth and low income programs, and crime prevention.
-       Dedication of $23.7 million in 2017 tax room to fund Green Line financing costs until 2044.
-       Approval of $1.7 billion capital investment in Calgary infrastructure and related jobs.
 
Through the week-long deliberations, I worked hard to strike the balance needed to close the budget gap while being protective of the pillars I believe our communities rely on:
Strengthening Our Economy
-          Small Businesses – I supported the renewal of the $45 tax rebate – a program I introduced this year to help small businesses in our community. Calgarian entrepreneurs are the backbone of our economy. For years, they have contributed to the prosperity of our city and while our economy is working its way back, I believe that moving into 2018 we need to continue to provide support for businesses to flourish.
-          Civic Partners – I supported the restoration of $1.4 Million to our civic partners (organizations like Calgary Economic Development, The Talisman Centre, Calgary Arts Development, etc.) whose work makes our city a great place to live.
Re-Investing in Our Neighbourhoods
-          Roads Roadway infrastructure is incredibly important in Ward 8. Our inner city streets and sidewalks see significant amount of use from all Calgarians. I presented a Motion Arising that restored $1.2 Million in funding to go towards maintaining and re-paving our roads and sidewalks.
-          Police – I supported an increase to the Calgary Police Service budget which will see 55 new police officers on our streets to help combat the unfortunate recent increase domestic violence, car prowling and petty crime.
-       Safe Communities – I supported $3.0 million from the City’s Fiscal Stability Reserve to our Community Services department which works on initiatives for safe communities, youth and low income programs and crime prevention.
 
Connecting Our Neighbourhoods
-          Transit – I know that Ward 8 residents count on reliable, safe and affordable transit options to get them to where they need to go. I supported restoring funding to our Transit department to avoid dramatic service cuts to crucial bus routes in our communities. Also, I supported funding to continue our Low Income Transit pass in 2018 for Calgarians in need.
-       Green Line – What will be one of the largest infrastructure investments our city has ever made, I supported $23.7 million in 2017 tax room dedicated to fund Green Line financing costs for 27 years ending in 2044.
 
One of our most important jobs as City Councillors is to ensure Calgarians are getting the services they need at a fair price. Striking this balance means making difficult decisions, but I am passionate about continuing to build a vibrant and thriving city. Just this past Monday, my colleagues and I undertook the task of looking at our city, our economy and our communities with fresh eyes and began work to outline the priorities for Calgary and shape our direction for Administration for the next four-year term. I’m hopeful and excited to keep working in projects that make lives better for residents of Ward 8. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to my office by email: ward08@calgary.ca or by phone: 403-268-2341.


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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