Calgary Minute: Heritage Day, Big Votes, and a new City Manager
Calgary Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Calgary politics
This Week In Calgary:
- Today is Heritage Day in Alberta, also known as the August Civic Holiday. It was invented to replace each City's individual birthday holidays so that they all happen on the same day. Given Calgary was incorporated as a town on November 7, 1884, and as a City on January 1st, 1894, a holiday in Summer rather than Winter sounds like a good deal!
Council doesn't just take the long weekend off, they're actually on break for all of August. That means there's not too much happening municipally, but I guess it explains the rush to get the Arena deal done last week?
- If you're desperate for something civic-minded to do though, the City is currently accepting public input on two projects - the Bowness Flood Barrier Project and the Mainstreets - Sunalta Project.
Last Week In Calgary:
- On Monday, Council voted 13-1 to approve the $60 million in spending cuts administration recommended for this year's budget. This is the first time in the 5 years since the economic downturn that Council has actually reduced rather than increased spending. Don't forget though, that overall the City will still spend more this year than they did last year, so it's only "cut" compared to their original increased 2019 budget, not compared to last year's budget.
- On Tuesday, Council voted 11-4 to approve more than $300 million in cash, land, and tax incentives for a new downtown arena. Now that the vote is done, we'll work to hold the City accountable and make sure that the project is delivered on time and on budget.
- Finally, on Thursday, Calgary's new City Manager was announced to be David Duckworth who most recently served as the City's General Manager of Utilities and Environmental Protection. He appears to be a pick that will maintain the status quo at City Hall, having already announced that the City's budget problems require a "tax shift" rather than a spending cut. Remember, when they say "tax shift", they mean a tax increase on citizens.
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