Calgary Minute: Tax Hikes, Tax Hikes, and Even More Tax Hikes
Calgary Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Calgary politics
This Week In Calgary:
- It’s a busy week at City Hall, with five meetings scheduled to take place. First up, at 1:00 pm this afternoon, is a meeting of the Citizen-Led Selection Committee For The Integrity Commissioner. This committee’s role is to recruit and recommend a replacement for former Integrity Commissioner Meryl Whittaker, who vacated her role in late October. One of the members of the committee is a certain Naheed Nenshi. While technically he is just a regular citizen again, it seems a bit on the nose for the new Mayor to appoint the immediate past Mayor to what is supposed to be a citizen committee!
On Wednesday, there will be a meeting of the Infrastructure and Planning Committee at 9:30 am. Multiple municipal historic resource designations are up for discussion, including City-owned sites like Riley Park, and private-owned sites like the Arthur Bishop Residence. Also on the agenda is extending the amnesty on secondary suite legalization. On Thursday, the Calgary Planning Commission meets at 1:00 pm to discuss several land use amendments and a development permit for 526 – 4 Avenue
Two meetings are set for Friday. The Emergency Management Committee is scheduled to meet at 9:30 am (though this is only listed on the City's calendar and not on the agenda), followed by a meeting of the Green Line Board at 1:00 pm.
Last Week In Calgary:
City Council voted to increase property taxes by 3.87% for 2022. Despite an initial proposal of only 1% by City officials, after debate there were only a couple of funding requests left unapproved. Council voted 11-4 in favour of the tax hike overall with Councillors Sonya Sharp, Dan McLean, Sean Chu, and Andre Chabot the dissenting voices.
- Council voted for at least $172 million of new spending initiatives. A cool $3 million is earmarked for the hiring of 18 staffers who will be tasked with implementing climate plans (that's an average of $166,667 per job for those counting). 77 City vehicles will be replaced with electric ones. Diverting crisis calls away from police and toward alternative responses will run $8 million, and $10 million will net the City 56 more firefighters. An extra $5 million will go toward snow removal, $10 million will be spent to build 125 more affordable housing units, and $15 million in funding has been allocated to permanently memorializing residential school victims and survivors. You know the old saying, "A million here, a million there; sooner or later you’re talking real money!"
Calgary Police Service will also get a boost in funding, thanks to 11 City Councillors who voted in favour of a $6 million+ increase. Mayor Jyoti Gondek, and Councillors Kourtney Penner, Courtney Walcott, and Gian-Carlo Carra were the four who opposed the extra funding. During debate, Councillor Sean Chu referenced last year’s "defund the police" motion, which saw Mayor Gondek threaten to cut off his microphone and claim that Council had never discussed defunding the police. For the record, here's the vote result from the vote to defund the police last year (where now-Mayor Gondek voted yes), as well as our rebuttal of silly claims that that's now what Council was voting on.
Common Sense Calgary doesn't accept any government funding and never will. We think you should be free to choose, for yourself, which organizations to support. If you're in a position to contribute financially, you can make a donation here.
If you're not in a position to donate, we understand, but if you appreciate our work, you can help by spreading our message. Please email this post to your friends, share it on Facebook or Twitter, and help make sure every Calgarian knows what's really going on at City Hall.