A $106 property tax hike instituted by Calgary city council earned as much notice from commuters as a carefree chorus of crickets would.
“For me, it’s not a huge impact,” said Matt Fuller, one of many Brentwood Station commuters who said they didn’t care hours after the decision yesterday. “I’m sure there are people who might not be very well off and it might impact them more, but if it’s about a $100 a year, that doesn’t matter much to me.”
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It’s likely the last single-digit increase Calgarians will see for awhile, barring some “major cuts in services,” said Ald. Bob Hawkesworth.
He pleaded for an additional hike to meet $6.2 million in unaddressed emergency services needs, which fell dead on the floor with no one stepping up to second it.
Hawkesworth said council had no appetite for further increases this go-round, choosing instead to delay the inevitable to an even tighter financial time next year, when the city will be faced with several hard decisions — many of which could have been lessened, even if slightly, according to Hawkesworth.
“Now we just got double the problem for next year,” Hawkesworth said, adding his requested additional increase yesterday would have taken care of all the emergency services needs for the city.
“Next year’s budget is going to be very difficult and we’ve compounded that difficulty by stopping short of addressing protective services this year.”
A move by Ald. Andre Chabot met a similar fate when he sought to dip into the city’s $76-million fiscal stability reserve to maintain the property tax increase at 4.5 per cent, citing a need to alleviate financial pressure for the upcoming budget.
“Is what I’m hearing correct?” asked Mayor Dave Bronconnier, who blamed the increase on a provincial requisition for $44.1 million in education taxes. “You want to take money out of your savings to help shelter the provincial government?”
“I’m just trying to keep the taxpayer in mind here,” Chabot answered.
The bill should be mailed out to property owners May 23.