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Hike settles at below 4%

City council approved a 3.85 per cent tax increase Thursday, and coupled with a utility hike, the average homeowner will owe $98 more in 2011.

City hall is expecting more from Edmonton taxpayers in 2011.

City council approved a 3.85 per cent tax increase Thursday, and coupled with a utility hike, the average homeowner will owe $98 more in 2011.

Mayor Stephen Mandel said the budget shows council’s desire to deliver services as well as fiscal responsibility.

“We didn’t want to go away from our vision of improving neighbourhoods, which was substantially important, so we were able to shave a little bit off that in order to meet the needs of that program without cutting it back,” he said, in reflecting on a reduction in the neighbourhood-renewal program.

The vote was 11-2, with councillors Kerry Diotte and Linda Sloan opposed.

“I think we really missed an opportunity here,” said Diotte. “No budget should go beyond the rate of inflation. Unfortunately this one does.”

Diotte’s motion to cut $27 million out of the $1.8 billion budget was defeated last week — a move he said would have resulted in no tax increase at all.

Coun. Don Iveson strongly disagreed with Diotte’s desire to go as low as two per cent.

“You can’t just want money cut out of the budget and expect services to stay the same,” he said.

 
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