February 2012 Newsletter
Aldertalk got off to a good start in January and I am planning to make this a once per month event going forward. The idea is to provide an opportunity for those of you who might like to meet with me face to face, to have a chat on a scheduled basis. The meetings are informal with no agenda or any big speeches - just a chance for you and a few other folks in the district to come and tell me what is on your mind when it comes to City Hall. I am holding these events in place of the large, expensive and poorly attended events that The City used to organize in past, so that you can help provide me with some feedback on how I am doing on your behalf.
The next Aldertalk meeting is scheduled for noon, Feb. 18 at Lake Bonavista Community Association, MPR room. The address is 1401 Acadia Drive S.E. For more information, call my office at 403-268-1627.
I expect maybe a dozen people at the most over the hour, so this is a good opportunity for you and I to meet personally. I look forward to seeing you there!
February often brings more cold weather and snow. Judging from the calls into my office, the new snow clearing routes have generally been well accepted by most people, with fewer problems than we anticipated. Congratulations to all who have had to deal with this issue. It seems everyone is doing a good job of coping with winter so far. On this note, let me encourage those of you who have snow blowers (or strong backs), to consider becoming a Snow Angel. The Snow Angel campaign encourages Calgarians to be good neighbours by helping older adults and others in need to keep their sidewalks clear. All you have to do is just go help shovel your neighbor out after a blizzard - nothing more complicated than that!
I thought that this month might be an interesting one to take a look at some 2011 statistics from our office. Last year, City Hall received a total of 534,397 phone calls (SR - service requests) from residents. Of that 26,366 were from Ward 14 residents. The community in Ward 14 with the most number of SRs was Lake Bonavista with 3,998, then comes Chaparral with 3,054; Willow Park 2,776; Sundance 2,662; Midnapore 2,536; Silverado 2,513; Deer Run 1,543; Parkland 1,491; Queensland 1,490; Deer Ridge 1,462; Walden 1,092; Maple ridge 789; Bonavista Downs 464; Diamond Cove 182 calls and the rest totaling about 300 calls beyond that.
The calls range across many different subjects, but TIPP application requests, property and tax inquiries, animal licensing, development, building approval inspections, residential waste inquiries, sewage, plumbing and water queries take up about half of all calls. The balance is everything from volunteer fingerprinting with the Calgary Police service (8%) to opinions on business units (7.4%) to bus route scheduling (1.3%), recreational event bookings, and Enmax enquiries (0.9%) and so on.
If each call takes an hour or so to deal with - finding resolutions, following up back and forth - just answering all these calls properly city-wide could be a full time job for about 350 people. The City of Calgary is getting to be quite a large city, isn't it?
February is tax time and I imagine many of you are thinking about how little money you seem to have left at the end of the day after taxes - at least if you are like me! It may interest you to know that only about 8% of all the taxes you pay to government actually go to The City of Calgary. The other 92% goes almost equally to the province and to the federal government. Given the services The City of Calgary provides with our 8% of your money vs. the other two orders of government with their 92%, some days it doesn't seem The City of Calgary is such a bad deal overall. I will always advocate for lower taxes and for more efficient spending of any of your money, however I do think that The City of City should have a more equitable split of what you do pay overall.
Have a great February everyone!