City answers $52M question
Published Tuesday, July 30, 2013 5:11AM MDT Last Updated Tuesday, July 30, 2013 8:14AM MDT
City councilors have finally put a controversial decision to rest with a vote that answers weeks of debate and public input over what to do with an unexpected $52M tax rebate from the province, but those who voted against say the issue isn’t over.
Several Calgary aldermen battled to have the money returned to taxpayers, but Mayor Nenshi managed to convince the majority to go along with a plan to earmark the money for flood relief.
Diane Colley-Urquhart, who voted against the motion, says the money will be an election issue. “Even though this failed today and my amendment failed to give the money back to Calgarians, the fact of the matter is this will be an election issue and I am confident about that.”
Nenshi says that council made the right decision. “I think council made the right decision today and I’ll stand by that and people will have an opportunity to vote to determine whether they believe that or not.”
The money became available earlier this year when the government realized they collected more education tax than what was needed.
The provincial and federal governments have pledged to pay for the rebuild in the city, but early estimates of the total costs indicate that they could reach half a billion dollars.
The city will need to pay for a portion of that and the $52M will be softening that blow when it comes.
The debate will be back on the table in the fall when its expected that another $52M in tax revenue becomes available.