Jeffrey Michael Brownridge

Survey Responses:


Question 1.1:

Do you think municipal taxes should:

a) Reduce in absolute terms
b) Reduce in real terms (grow, but slower than inflation)
c) Reduce in relative terms (grow, but slower than inflation plus population growth)
d) Stay the same (grow, but only in line with inflation plus population growth)
e) Increase a bit (grow in line with the city’s Municipal Price Index)
f) Increase more (grow faster than the city’s Municipal Price Index)

 

Answer 1.1 [Choose One]:

d) Stay the same (grow, but only in line with inflation plus population growth)


Question 1.2:

Comments?

 

Answer/Comments 1.2:

Property Taxes increased almost three times the rate of inflation from 2005 to 2015 and this is unsustainable especially at a time when Calgary is still reeling from the economic downturn. City Council committed to a property tax freeze and is now facing a $170 Million dollar shortfall due to rapidly declining revenues.  I still think that a property tax freeze could potentially be delivered for 2018 and future tax increases should be indexed to inflation plus population growth.


Question 2.1:

Would you vote in favour of allocating any tax dollars or giving any subsidy towards a new stadium/arena?

 

Answer 2.1 [Yes/No Only]:

[No Answer Provided]


Question 2.2:

If yes, how much and in what form would these taxes take (direct cash, land, subsidy, indirect, etc), and why do you support public dollars being directed towards a corporation?

 

Answer/Comments 2.2:

The current offer that the City of Calgary has made includes direct contributions totalling $185 million dollars. I do not advocate conceding much further from this position at the bargaining table without the taxpayer getting some measurable return on their investment. The other way that the taxpayer can stand to benefit from this project is ensuring that the lands around any new arena are properly developed into a vibrant economic district – similar to what Edmonton has done with the Ice District. Proper development of a vibrant district will result in stronger property tax collected versus what we have with vacant and under developed lands.


Question 3.1:

Recent research on Calgary’s City Council found that council spends nearly a quarter of its’ time meeting in private (in camera). Do you agree that this is too much time spent in private?

 

Answer 3.1 [Yes/No Only]:

Yes.


Question 3.2:

If so, what would you do to fix this? Which topics do you believe should be discussed behind closed doors and why?

 

Answer/Comments 3.2:

The current Calgary City Council meets in private far more frequently than almost any other major Canadian municipality – certainly more than Toronto, Hamilton and Ottawa do. One of my campaign principles is transparency so I would push for a dramatic reduction in this practice. The only topics that should be discussed behind closed doors would be those that involve privacy or confidentiality and therefore warrant being ‘in camera’.


Question 4.1:

From the $470,000 Blue Ring, to the $236,000 for a “Poop Palace”, and now another $500,000 for Bowfort Towers, council has consistently failed to engage with Calgarians about which public Art projects their tax dollars are spent on. Do you support continuing to use taxpayer dollars to fund art projects for the city?

 

Answer 4.1 [Yes/No Only]:

[No Answer Provided]


Question 4.2:

If yes, why do you think council and administration have repeatedly failed on this issue, and what guidelines should be used to ensure Calgarians are happy with the results in future?

 

Answer/Comments 4.2:

There can be some value in public art projects (The Cloud Gate sculpture in Chicago comes to mind as it is currently the #3 rated thing to see on Trip Advisor) but the current program has been a significant failure with far too many projects that have not resonated with the public. The current policy of mandating that a percentage of infrastructure projects must be allocated to public art also needs to be reviewed. Public Art spending needs to be linked to current economic conditions and the current approval process needs to be retooled so that there is more public engagement and discussion on the guidelines for what art projects should be approved in the future. A successful Public Art program can contribute to a vibrant city and it can be one of the factors that a company like Amazon will evaluate prior to locating offices and operations here.


Question 5:

How can council support small businesses?

 

Answer 5:

In Canada Small Business are responsible for almost four fifths of job growth and job creation yet almost half don’t survive past their fifth year of operations. The currently regulatory and tax framework needs to be completely reviewed to ensure that businesses are provided with the right foundations to thrive and succeed. Small Businesses are already struggling under increasing tax burdens placed on theses business from the provincial and federal governments. Small businesses need to have economic conditions and regulatory frameworks that provide the foundation for their success and allow for them to hire quickly and efficiently for new opportunities within those businesses.


Question 6.1:

Do you support the current plan for construction of the Green Line?

 

Answer 6.1 [Yes/No Only]:

[No Answer Provided]


Question 6.2:

The construction of the Green Line was approved based on a cost-benefit analysis that assumed the project would be completed two years earlier than now projected, and at a lower construction cost for the entire line than is now estimated for half of the line. If the costs increase again or the project is further delayed, would you continue to support it, and why?

 

Answer/Comment 6.2:

The cost increases can be traced to the current city council approval on ‘future proofing’ this project – building it right the first time. A commitment to building underground and tunneling was more a more expensive option but one that will help ensure that the system can meet capacity and demand well into the future. The Green Line can have many benefits; however, we must ensure that the costs don’t escalate to a point where the debt burden outweighs the benefits that an improved transit system will have for Calgarians. If cost increase considerably than future expansion may need to be scaled back to a longer time horizon.


Question 7.1:

In July, City Council voted against a motion to hold a referendum/plebiscite on whether Calgary should bid to host the 2026 Winter Olympics bid. Do you support holding a referendum / plebiscite on whether Calgary should bid to host the 2026 Winter Olympics bid?

 

Answer 7.1 [Yes/No Only]:

Yes.


Question 7.2:

Why do you support/oppose a public vote? Should the results of a vote should be binding?

 

Answer/Comment 7.2:

There should be a public vote and the results should be binding. The Olympics have changed dramatically since the last time they were held here in Calgary with increasingly lofty expectations from the IOC and significantly increased security costs.