Calgary budget talks kick off Monday

As Calgary city council begins its’ week-long budget debate, homeowners could be on the hook in a potential property tax shift. Tate Laycraft has more.

Calgarians are expected to make their pitches to city council Monday, kicking off week-long budget talks.

Several advocacy organizations will have their say on proposed budget adjustments.

This week, deliberations will focus on property tax increases and a possible shift in the residential to non-residential tax share, which currently sits at 52 and 48 per cent, respectively.

Calgarians with a property worth over $600,000 could face a tax increase of five per cent.

However, this could climb as high as 7.8 per cent if council approves changes to the residential-business tax share.

Chief administrative officer David Duckworth has said administration and council worked to reduce property tax and user fee increases in recent years.

Speaking with reporters earlier this month, Duckworth says they’re looking at investing in transit, housing, mental health and addictions, and public safety.

In a post to X earlier this month, Ward 1 Coun. Sonya Sharp said she is also focused on those issues while emphasizing her desire for the city to stay within the budget voted on last year.

“Last year, city council voted to increase taxes by 3.4 per cent, just to ensure we were able to continue delivering the services we committed to,” she explained. “Now, some members of council want to increase that further.

“Even though we need more investment in certain areas of our city, an increase to property taxes is not what Calgarians need,” Sharp continued. “Taxpayers are still being hammered by inflation and affordability is the biggest issue people are dealing with.”

Sharp emphasized the need for investment in public safety, saying companies and businesses don’t want to invest in an unsafe city, and people don’t want to live in one, either.

She also said existing capital funds should be put towards affordable housing.

“With the capital dollars we already have at our disposal, we need to invest in more affordable housing, because a city thrives when we all have a place to call home,” the councillor said.

The councilllor was persistent in saying the City of Calgary should hold the line at 2022’s 3.4 per cent.

City budget deliberations are expected to continue throughout the week.

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