Calgary Minute: Tax Hikes, Census Savings, and more Secret Meetings
Calgary Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Calgary politics
This Week In Calgary:
Today there will be a Strategic Meeting of Council. Council will be discussing re-balancing the City's Capital Portfolio and Citizen Privacy in public. Then, because the concept of irony is completely lost on Council, they will move into a secret meeting to discuss ways they could restore and strengthen public trust in City Hall. Maybe they could start by holding discussions like that in public, rather than private?
On Tuesday there will be a Green Line Committee meeting where, as with other recent meetings of this Committee, we expect some fireworks. Many people are finally starting to realize that spending billions of dollars on a project that can't pass a basic cost/benefit test while cutting hundreds of millions of dollars from the City's existing Transit budgets probably isn't a good idea.
- On Wednesday morning there will be a Standing Policy Committee on Utilities and Corporate Services meeting, and in the afternoon there will be a Standing Policy Committee on Transportation and Transit meeting.
Last Week In Calgary:
- Instead of dealing with crippling, unsustainable tax rates during the budget in December, Calgary Councillors - who we can only assume take great pleasure in tormenting business owners - revisited the issue of ever-climbing business taxes last Tuesday. In the end, Council's Priorities and Finance Committee voted to cap 2020 business property tax increases to "just" 10% using their favourite source of income: one-time funding A.K.A. the magic money Council pulls out from the couch cushions whenever the public gets mad enough.
- In a surprising yet still positive move, the Priorities and Finance Committee also voted to cancel the civic census in 2021. Of course, the Committee's recommendation still has to pass through a full vote of Council, and the Mayor has made it clear he opposes this move, but switching the civic census to every two years could save an estimated $800,000. You could argue good data matters, but that's only really true if City Staff stop manipulating this data beyond the laws of mathematics to get their desired outcome.
- Finally, the Priorities and Finance Committee also voted to ban conversion therapy. Councillor Farkas, while in support of the ban, questioned the need given the federal government is already bringing in a federal ban. As Rob Breackenridge put it: "there is a considerable difference in taking a stand in support of a ban on conversion therapy ... and thinking you have the power and ability to enact one. Some on Council, however, don’t draw such a distinction."
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