Calgary Minute: Tax Freeze, Expense Scandals, and Even More Public Art Spending
Calgary Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Calgary politics
This Week In Calgary:
It's a light week at City Hall, with no Council Meeting and only one Committee meeting scheduled for this week.
- That single meeting is a Standing Policy Committee on Utilities and Corporate Services meeting on Wednesday at 9:30 am, which will review a proposed lease and option to purchase in the Downtown Commercial Core and Proposed Amendments and Extensions in Lincoln Park.
- The Provincial government's cabinet committee on COVID-19 will be meeting on Friday to discuss whether Alberta can move to Step 2 of the re-opening plan the following week, but the Province is still refusing to budge on allowing for different levels of restrictions in different parts of the province based on differing case rates.
Last Week In Calgary:
- The City's Priorities and Finance Committee approved a proposal from Ward 11 Councillor Jeromy Farkas to use $44 million from the City's reserves to keep non-residential property tax increases at zero this year. The motion still needs to pass through a Council Meeting, and even if it does it's still just another one-off measure - Calgary still needs to get spending under control.
- In spite of the ongoing deep recession, high downtown office vacancy rates, rising City taxes, and deep concerns about the levels of wasteful spending happening municipally, some Councillors don't seem to get it. Councillor Gian-Carlo Carra took his office staff out to local restaurants 19 times last year. He also spent $1,429 on staff appreciation gifts for his three assistants. Councillor Evan Woolley, meanwhile, also took his office staff out regularly and even had taxpayers pay for an overnight out-of-town retreat.
- Speaking of taxpayer money, the City is currently hiring a consultant to manage several new public art projects. Perhaps you had the impression that this sort of wasteful spending wasn't happening anymore? Perhaps you heard the Mayor when he said "we've already cut to the bone". Yeah, not so much.
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