After four days of debate, city council approved the 2011 budget yesterday afternoon and landed on a five per cent tax rate increase with the possibility of going lower.

If the police come up with $2 million in further reductions and administration finds $8 million in across the board cuts, the tax rate could land as low as four per cent, said Mayor Naheed Nenshi.

“We did ask for a few additional savings that will come back to council in the New Year so it could go, if we accept all the savings it could go as low as four per cent,” said Nenshi.

However, not all Nenshi’s colleagues agree with the final number.

Ald. Peter Demong said the rate increase should have been closer to the municipal price index at four per cent.

“I think we should try whenever possible to increase accordingly to what is happening with average Calgarians,” he said. “I would like to have seen a stronger signal, that’s all.”

While Ald. Andre Chabot voted to approve the budget, he agreed the cuts could have gone further.

“Personally, I still think we need to go lower,” he said.

“I supported the budget reluctantly because there are some cuts that are on the table that potentially could come forward in April.”

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