July 2013 Newsletter
Howdy (and a tip of the hat),
The next hundred years of the Stampede is soon to begin. Yahoo! I hope you get out and enjoy it, right after you read this tale of $52 million.
Your property tax bill is broken into two parts: the city's property tax, and the education tax that the city collects and remits to the province. In March 2013, the Province decided they were going to give you a break on the education portion of your property taxes. This amounts to about $52 million in total, or about $126 annually for the average residential property owner. Two years ago, Council voted to automatically take any ‘vacated' tax surplus from the Province (I voted against this).
That is how Council ended up with $52 million, and it is not "one-time money". This will become part of the base property tax that you pay every year, onto which all future increases will be compounded.
It is my job to listen to what you have to say. There are five choices for how this money could be spent, and I URGE you to contact me with your opinion, because I AM listening. The issue will be coming to Council on July 22nd.
It is also my job to cast a vote on this issue, and it is no secret that giving it back to taxpayers is my current favourite. Some have said that this option would make no difference to Calgarians because $126 dollars is such a small sum. Calling any sum of money irrelevant sets a dangerous precedent, but for now let's assume that an extra $126 in your pocket is inconsequential because that is not really the point. The point is the $126 is not extra for you; it's extra for the City! The point is that the Provincial government lowered taxes, so YOU could get the money back! If the city continued to charge 7% GST when it was lowered to 5%, I wonder how well that would have been accepted.
You can contact me anytime at 403-268-1653, or email@example.com, with any opinions you might have. For general City inquiries, you can now use your smartphone with the new 311 app. I'm proud to have played a part in the streamlining of 311, of which this new app is a result. See calgary.ca/ward14 for a history and details on how to get the 311 app.
Finally, don't forget to join me in the Southcentre Mall parking lot for the Ward 14 Communities BBQ on September 21st. We'll be celebrating Ward 14's Community Associations. See calgary.ca/ward14/events for details.