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City property taxes on the rise again

<p>City council wanted Calgary property owners to cough up 1,117 extra large coffees and now they want 61 more.</p>


City council wanted Calgary property owners to cough up 1,117 extra large coffees and now they want 61 more.


That’s about what it will amount to when council sits down to vote on this year’s property tax increase today, where it will ask for an extra $106 in taxes, about $2,060 total, from every Calgary property owner based on a 2008 median assessment value of $447,500 in the city.


Of the $106 increase, $50.35 would go to the province and $55.60 would stay in Calgary, which overall means more than $828 million of that collected cash will be kicked into city coffers to feed municipal needs while the province will draw more than $538 million.


Mayor Dave Bronconnier said the province’s “addiction to Calgary’s property tax base” has essentially forced the city’s hand in the matter, suggesting the premier’s requisition of $44.1 million in extra property taxes from the city left no choice but to jack up the property tax bill, slated to be mailed out to property-owners May 23.


The city had initially proposed a 4.5 per cent property tax increase this year, but when the provincial budget was released last week asking for a 6.5 per cent cut, it pushed the city’s need to 5.4 per cent, Bronconnier said.


But Ward 12 Ald. Ric McIver said it’s not only the province that has a hunger for Calgary tax dollars, the city, too, has a seemingly insatiable penchant that needs to be curbed.


McIver said a “willful ignorance” on the city’s behalf shouldn’t be used as an excuse for an increased property tax burden on Calgary citizens and until council “intentionally” seeks areas where spending could be reigned in, taxes will continue to rise.


“There’s not enough of an effort being put forth to reduce spending and until you put forth that effort, you’re doing a disservice to the taxpayer,” McIver said, adding the province wasn’t out of line when it set its tax rate.


–neil.mackinnon@metronews.ca


 
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