Ward Sutherland

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]:

b) Reduce in real terms (grow, but slower than inflation)


Question 1.2:

Comments?

 

Answer/Comments 1.2:

To achieve a reduction in real terms we need to get back to the business of delivering quality services to Calgarians, at the best value for their tax dollars. The primary duty of council is to understand the level of city services Calgarians want and determine how to most effectively deliver them. The challenge for Council over the next 4 years, given a constrained revenue base, will be to direct the cost component of The City of Calgary’s operations.


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]:

Yes.


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 complex will be an Event Center not just a hockey arena (hockey use is roughly 44 days out of the year). Calgary’s convention / trade show centre is being moved over to the Stampede grounds and will utilize the event centre as part of their business plan in the future. I do not support an increase in City of Calgary property taxes to finance the arena. I believe a financial agreement can be negotiated without raising property taxes.


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 increased times in camera have been related to the confidential discussions on the upcoming City Charter. However, in my opinion a significant portion of the time spent in camera is on discussions that are not necessarily required to be held in camera. I propose that the topics and time spent on discussions in camera should be logged and available for the public.


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]:

Yes. 


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:

 During my term I was an advocate for changing the funding program and art project selection process. Unfortunately, there was not enough support on Council to pass the changes. I am pleased, based on the last council meeting this year that the entire program has been frozen and will be scheduled for a complete review (funding levels / selection process) by the incoming council.


Question 5:

How can council support small businesses?

 

Answer 5:

The process of cutting red tape to reduce the burden on small businesses has not been effective, especially in the planning department.  Simple changes for small businesses are complicated and that must be resolved.  In addition, maintaining a stable non-residential property tax environment is a must. The city can support small businesses through fully implementing the Main Street Program throughout the 24 identified business corridors.


Question 6.1:

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

 

Answer 6.1 [Yes/No Only]:

No.


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 preliminary approval was rushed into without full consideration of the long term development planning goal of mixed land use throughout the city. Based on the current long term planning direction, my concern is that the projected utilization rate of the Green Line may not be realized.


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:

 A precondition of a referendum / public vote on an Olympic bid is that Calgarians are provided with full disclosure of the economic and property taxation implications of the proposed bid. I believe that a binding public vote is warranted due the scope & size of the impact that a successful Olympic bid would have on Calgarians.