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Calgary approves budget with a 1.77 percent tax rate cut

Calgary’s Historic City Hall (OMAR SHERIF / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY)

Calgary businesses will again get city-mandated relief – at a price – but the reduced budget sailed through the city council on Thursday.

The vote ended with a four-day budget debate. The Calgary Police Budget has been passed (as part of the overall budget) with some changes and the entire residential tax cut has been retained.

“We have to get this budget passed,” said Coun. Evan Woolley when he opened the debate.

“We have to leave the street lights on, the buses run, the snow clearing, monitor the police, the firefighters fight fires and much more.”

Relatively few changes have been made in this case compared to previous budgets. The city government promised budget cuts of $ 90 million to help the city cut taxes. Overall, Carla Male, CFO of the City of Calgary, estimated a 1.77 percent decrease in the tax rate between residential and non-residential buildings.

While this means a relatively modest tax break for Calgary homeowners, some urban businesses will still face significant tax increases.

Not all taxpayers will see a decrease in their tax burden. The discount is for the typical Calgary single family homeowner. Those whose properties have appreciated or decreased in value above the median will see a relative increase or decrease in their tax burden.

Help for Business in Calgary

Calgary will cap property tax increases on corporations to 10 percent. In some business tax categories, increases of between seven and 25 percent should be recorded.

You will do this through another phased tax program.

This will cost the city $ 21 million. It will come from savings from last year’s Phased Tax Program and the originally approved estate tax rebate of $ 24 million.

“This is obviously not the long-term solution the Calgarians deserve, but it will allow us to live to fight one more day,” said Coun. Jeromy Farkas, who introduced the proposal.

“The message we need to send now more than ever is certainty.”

Most city councils reluctantly agreed that something had to be done to help the Calgary business, but this was not a long-term solution.

“Every year we say we hate this and every year we approve of it,” said Coun. Druh Farrell.

“Every year we don’t like it – and we don’t get any better at it.”

The city councils also generally agreed that the city must do more to promote tax reform so that this problem with the tax situation does not recur.

Coun. Jyoti Gondek again suggested that the city stop creating a “wish list” for a budget and then tax citizens and businesses to get it.

Changes adopted, failed

City councils agreed on a handful of other amendments. Most of the changes have no impact on the property tax base.

One of them, from Coun. Peter Demong in connection with the funding of the Heritage Credits will be removed from the tax base. Instead, it is financed to a lesser extent from the fiscal sustainability reserve.

Another added $ 2.5 million from the tax reserve to help improve the city’s canopy.

The budget cut $ 10 million from the Calgary police budget, cutting 60 jobs. A motion arising from the debate by Coun. Jeff Davison allowed the CPS to access cash for hiring when needed.

A measure by Coun. Gondek proposed pulling $ 74 million from city reserves to give all Calgary owners a true zero percent tax hike – home and business owners.

“That means no tax hike for a property owner this year, which is one of the worst years we’ve seen,” said Gondek.

“This really allows us to see that the Calgarians are in a rough state.”

This attempt failed.

Coun. Farkas also tried to wrestle $ 4 million from the city’s tax reserve to repair nearly 1.7 kilometers of sound barrier around the city. He said she was in a dangerous state of decay. These were referred to the city’s traffic and transit committee for further discussion.

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