After three days of public input and budget deliberations, City Council approved the 2024 Budget adjustments to the 2023-2026 Service Plans and Budgets. Please visit the City of Calgary website for detailed information.
We listened and learned. The Ward 7 Team and I have been consulting with communities, residents, and businesses. We have heard from all about the importance of increasing public safety, investing in affordable housing, and providing better transit. The approved budget adjustments address these challenges with sizeable investments.
We have also heard about the challenges of affordability that all Calgarians are facing. My staff and I share the same concerns as you. You have asked us to mitigate the rising costs of municipal taxes, and reduce user & permit fees (e.g., Residential parking), as these are costs that The City can control.
We have acted. The budget adjustment addresses Public Safety (i.e., investment in Police services, Fire, Peace officers, Transit Public Safety), Affordable housing, and Better Transit (i.e., RouteAhead; 5A infrastructure). But there were also additional services in this budget that I did not believe were critical in a time of unaffordability.
A 7.8% tax increase is a significant added pressure to households, especially for those on a fixed income. That is why I fought to reduce the tax increase – I supported and proposed several amendments against the non-residential to residential tax shift and to cut noncritical services to reduce the tax burden on citizens, including multiple amendments to keep Residential Parking Permits to a nominal fee, all of which were defeated.
I hate to advocate for increased taxes on small businesses. As a former business owner and Executive Director of a Business Improvement Area made up of hundreds of small businesses, I feel for the small businesses and their affordability challenges. However, I do not believe we should raise or shift the burden of taxes onto residential property owners. Residents are already struggling to cover costs of living and have limited opportunities to increase their incomes to make ends meet. Whereas businesses have greater opportunities to increase revenue, borrow funds, and are able to write-off expenses and property taxes in ways that residents cannot.
I fought alongside five other Councillors to stop the non-residential to residential tax shift, to cover only essential emerging issue costs, and to find more savings from within The City. (For those who wish to see the proposed amendments, they are available at the bottom of this page).
Unfortunately, nine members of council did not agree with this approach. The budget was approved with six Councillors, including myself, voting against and nine members of Council voting in favour (9-6).
I agree with the investments in the three critical areas of public safety, housing, and transit - and I will continue to support these. But I do not support the noncritical asks within this budget when affordability is a foremost challenge for Calgarians. This is why I did not vote in favour of the budget.
Thank you to everyone who wrote to our office, spoke to me when they saw me around the community, and shared feedback online. It is the residents of Ward 7 that make us the best twenty-one communities in Calgary. Your efforts are deeply appreciated, and I will continue to advocate for your needs and priorities.
As always, please continue to contact me and my office with any questions, concerns, or ideas you may have. We are here to listen and serve to the best of our abilities.
Sincerely and respectfully,
Ward 7 City Councillor
All of the proposed budget amendments can be found here:
Categories: Budget, Housing, Safety, Ward 7,