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Property taxes set to rise 7.8 per cent for Calgarians in 2024

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Calgary councillors passed recommended budget adjustments for next year, which means property taxes for a typical single-family home will be about $16 more per month for a typical single-family home in 2024.

The vote, which passed late Wednesday afternoon, means residential property taxes will jump by 7.8 per cent in 2024.

While about 3.4 of the 7.8 per cent increase was baked into the budget discussions after being approved in last year’s four-year plan, 2.4 per cent of it was new spending.

The largest line item in the new spending was on council’s affordable housing strategy, which received $90 million in capital funding, $27 million in annual ongoing funding and $54.5 million in one-time funding for 2024.

Jeromy Farkas, former councillor and mayoral candidate turned political observer, said putting money into affordable housing while dramatically raising taxes is foolish.

“That's absolutely insane. Especially when you think of a city that's undergoing an affordability crisis, a housing crisis. It just doesn't seem like council is following what typical Calgarian households are doing right now, which is setting priorities, tightening our belts,” said Farkas.

”Because at the end of the day, whether you own a home or not, you're going to have to pay for this, just because it's a property tax increase that's going to impact every single Calgarian, who's out there renting right now.”

The council's vote came after a day of public hearings on the proposed changes and another full day of questions to each individual business unit.

Wednesday saw about 20 different amendments proposed to try and cut spending or provide relief from the property tax hike.

None of the ideas proposed to bring the tax increase down passed.

Among the failed money-saving motions were moves to cut a pilot program that provides free transit to children under the age of 12 and an amendment to cut permanent funding for Calgary's mental health and addictions strategy.

While there was a clear division between the fiscal hawks and the rest of council there was consensus on spending money on enhancing safety in transit and in the community.

Council funded those initiatives with money going, in part, toward transit peace officers and adding $15 million in annual perpetual funding, topping that off with $2 million in one-time funding for the 2024 fiscal year.

It also approved $6 million in annual ongoing funding for a mental health and addiction strategy.

After shifting a portion of the tax burden to homeowners, Businesses will still see a 3.5 per cent tax increase next year, meaning the average commercial property worth around $5 million will pay about $277 more per month.

Calgary Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Deborah Yedlin described the move as a step in the right direction towards rebalancing property tax rates between residential and non-residential ratepayers but added that more needs to be done.

However Ward 10 Coun. Andre Chabot said the tax shift from business to residential will disproportionately benefit the largest businesses, not the ‘mom and pop’ businesses heralded by the chamber

“(That’s) because they don't have the financial ability to appeal or assessments, like the big office towers do downtown, who always appeal their assessment,” said Chabot. “And they are the ones who are going to get the bulk of the savings that was transferred on to the residential taxpayers.”

Property tax assessments for 2024 will be mailed out in the new year.

Property tax bills will be mailed out in May with bills due by the end of June.

With files from Jordan Kanygin

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