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Ward 14 - Peter Demong

2022 Budget Adjustments

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At the beginning of this week, our new City Council began its first budget deliberations. These deliberations represent potential changes to plans and budgets for the year 2022—the last year of the City’s most recent four-year budget cycle and plan. Next year, around this time, the new Council will debate plans and budgets for the next four-year cycle, and really begin to put its mark on the City. Until then, Council made some adjustments to the budget for next year.

The result—as you may have heard—is a 3.87% increase to the City’s overall budget. In contrast, the expected inflation and population growth next year for Calgary is 4%. The City’s budget decreased by 2% in 2021. Of the budget increase for 2022, 0.64% comes from recommendations by City administration. The rest is from motions made by Councillors themselves. I want to take a moment to explain the most high profile of those Council asks and how I voted to you, because a few of them made up the vast majority of the budget increase and are things that I believe Ward 14 would not want to live without.

Of the budget increase about 1% went to Police and public safety, about 1.5% went to road paving and snow clearing, and just under 1% went to the Fire department. In total these changes add up to just about the entire increase in the City’s overall budget, and while I know that taxes are a concern for Ward 14, each of these three items were also in their top five concerns as well. These increases will add an additional 56 firefighters, something that I have heard loud and clear is important for my far south communities. These increases will improve our ability to clear snow and improve paving repair on our roads—something that will also save us money in the long run. Finally, these increases will make our streets safer, and increase behind the scenes support for officers who are doing a difficult job, in a difficult time.

I also want to quickly note a motion I made to restore a gap in funding for our Downtown Strategy. This strategy is imperative to the health of Calgary’s economy. It will help leverage private investment in our struggling core and move us back to a place where the downtown shoulders more of the tax burden for the rest of us. The motion asked for $55 million from reserves, so it does not impact the tax rate.

I know that taxation levels are important to the people of Ward 14, but this is by no means the only priority that I hear. For years now, we have been scrutinizing for savings (I know, because I have been leading the charge), and priorities like policing, snow clearing, paving, and fire and rescue just cannot afford to take any more cuts. Overall, these increases just barely keep the City on the heels of increases in population and inflation—our increases in customer base and costs of doing business.

Please do not ever hesitate to contact me with your thoughts. The best way to do so is at calgary.ca/contactward14.

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Categories: Motions and Initiatives

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