Deferred decisions on outstanding projects could raise a projected five per cent property tax increase even higher, according to some aldermen.

“It’s five per cent-ish,” said Ald. Gord Lowe chair of the finance committee. “Council is very aware of where the budget is, and we are aware of our outstanding decisions.”

Council will begin debating Calgary’s 2010 budget on Nov. 23, using five per cent as a beginning point, though Lowe says that number is simply a projection.

Deferred projects, including $1.3 million in transit safety recommendations, $600,000 annually for Race City and $750,000 for graffiti cleanup will be examined during budget deliberations.
“That five per cent could be lowered to three per cent or even two-and-a-half if the aldermen make an effort,” said Ald. Ric McIver.

“People will try to put on the appearance of making an effort because it’s an election year, though it remains to be seen if there is an actual willingness to change.”

Personal “pet projects” may get in the way of council being able to make the appropriate cuts, McIver said.

“I’m not sure if council is willing to put in the effort that is required to cut as many unnecessary things as possible,” said McIver, who has been championing Race City.

Calgarians on the street were split on the prospect of a tax increase.

“That’s the price we have to pay for living in a city which keeps growing,” said Cassandra Lorrie, 29.

But, Jakim Naasar, 34, didn’t quite see it the same way.

“No way. Our taxes are high enough — we don’t need any extras,” he said.

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