City of Calgary projecting property tax increase
Posted Nov 7, 2023 01:45:13 PM.
Last Updated Nov 8, 2023 09:18:58 AM.
A four-year budget was approved last November, but with the current economic situation and feedback from Calgarians, the city is taking another look at what is needed.
“Calgarians are demanding many things right now, demanding transit safety, demanding affordable housing because we’re looking into the future — but the reality is at some point, that bill becomes due so that we can actually invest in those things,” Ward 8 Coun. Courtney Walcott said Tuesday.
Last budget saw a 3.4 per cent tax hike for property owners, which will jump to 7.8 per cent if council approves recommendations from city administration.
“As it stands, if it was a vote today, I would not have supported it,” Ward 1 Coun. Sonya Sharp said.
The councillor is pushing back, saying with the city seeing a surplus, Calgarians shouldn’t be the ones playing more.
“I really think that we need to stick to what we told Calgarians — and again, if we can’t hold the line at 3.4 per cent with the surplus we’re seeing, there’s fundamentally a problem in the way we’re budgeting,” Sharp added.
Mayor Jyoti Gondek says this action should’ve happened years ago.
“The time was 10 years ago but we didn’t act,” she said. “We didn’t act incrementally and now our hand has been forced.”
Ward 8 Coun. Walcott agrees.
“We saw in 2018/2019 zero and negative tax rates, in years that… did we think we didn’t need affordable housing then? Did we think we didn’t need better transit then?” he said.
Gondek says businesses have been disporportionally impacted by the city’s existing tax structure, which could see change — reducing non-residential tax by one per cent each year for the next three years, shifting the difference onto homeowners.
“We now have five times the number of residential properties than non-residential, and that has grown significantly over the last 10 years and we have done nothing to make sure that there is equity for businesses in our community,” the mayor said.
City council will be looking at the recommendations over the coming days before coming to a decision.