Mayor Nenshi, city manager speak on 2020 budget adjustments
CALGARY -- Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi and city manager David Duckworth outlined adjustments to the 2020 budget on Monday.
City council voted Friday in favour of a 7.51 per cent tax shift that will now see 52 per cent of taxes collected from residential property owners and 48 per cent from commercial business owners.
The move allowed council to save the low-income transit pass, keep two inner city swimming pools open for two more years, restore an earlier cut to public transit funding and allow the fire department to add 20 new personnel in the coming year.
But following the Friday vote, Nenshi said there will be impacts to community services.
"Longer grass, more dandelions on boulevards, no New Year's Eve and a scaled back Canada Day, unless I can find some more money for that," he said.
"The thing I really have to say, though, is that for those struggling local businesses, we can do stuff to help.
Along with the tax shift, Nenshi said Monday one way to help small businesses is through the city's Buy Local Campaign.
"So we're encouraging Calgarians to shop locally, both for your holiday gifts, but also for your business," he said.
"It's important that businesses, when they're buying goods and services, are supporting wealth-creating entrepreneurs in our own community.
"So, if you're buying online, go to the second page of Google and find that local business that's selling what you're doing online, if you're going shopping, shop locally in the city and help those businesses pay their own bills and hire locally as well."
Nenshi also responded Monday to comments made over the weekend by Municipal Affairs Minister Kaycee Madu, who said he was upset by the tax hike called spending by the city, out of control.
"I encourage everyone to visit Calgary.ca/financialfact, I would particularly encourage the minister to do that," Nenshi said.
"Because he really doesn't have a future as a writer of fiction and he probably needs to stop. I can image the minister is really interested in distracting people from his own budget which … let's see, increased income taxes, increased property taxes, cut front-line services, had a 33 per cent cut to the Calgary Police Service, and managed to increase the deficit $2 billion all at the same time.
"Pretty neat trick."