The pencils came out yesterday, and after the dust settled programs were added and revenues were cut — and the final tax increase remains the same.

While aldermen managed to maintain a 4.8 per cent tax hike, a last-ditch effort by Ald. Ric McIver, asking administration to come up with a further one per cent reduction prior to the 2010 mill rate bylaw being presented, was approved, though Mayor Dave Bronconnier asked that administration track the expense of work done to come up with that reduction.

Here are some of yesterday’s budget highlights:

TRANSIT: Council rescinded park-and-ride fees at bus rapid-transit lots effective immediately. This affects 2,024 of 14,126 parking stalls and does not affect LRT lots.

Aldermen defeated an amendment to add 12 new Calgary Transit peace officers, recommended by a transit safety audit. It would have added $1.3 million to the city budget.

Also defeated was a move by aldermen to reduce the LRT park-and-ride fee to $1 from the current $3.

RACE CITY: Council defeated an amendment that would have allowed $3.1 million for work done to Race City Speedway that would have paved the way for the city track to continue operation through 2015.

“I don’t care how you slice, dice or chop this, it’s a subsidy for private business,” said a disapproving Ald. Gord Lowe.

GRAFFITI: Aldermen settled on an increase in the budget of $200,000 — coupled with the carry over of $150,000 for a total of $350,000. The $200,000 will be funded by the Fiscal Sustainability Reserve (FSR).

SNOW REMOVAL: Aldermen approved a two-year, $2-million pilot project to contract out snow-removal services on residential streets. The money will be taken from the FSR.

BUDGET CUTS LOST: Council voted down a move by Ald. Diane Colley-Urquhart to pare back the Civic Partners budget by 1.7 per cent, excluding the Calgary Public Library.

McIver also lost his bid to reduce the Corporate Services budget by $2.8 million.

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