City councillors are getting set for a budget deliberation with possible residential tax increases on the horizon for Calgary homeowners.
On Monday council will hear from the public along with advocacy groups to speak on the matters they are concerned with.
“We have seen unprecedented population growth, in the last three years,” said Ward 5 councillor Raj Dhaliwal. “With the population growth and inflation, there are different new demands and requests.”
Councillor Terry Wong said citizen satisfaction surveys show Calgarians are concerned about affordability, transit safety and public safety.
Under deliberation are residential and non-residential tax increases with officials looking at shifting more of the tax burden from businesses to residential.
“Rebalancing it means that non-residential people are paying 4.59 times more on the tax rate than the residential people,” said Wong. “(The question we must answer is) can we change our residential vs non-residential share, and bring that 4.59 per cent to a safe level?”
Administration has proposed a plan to shift the tax rate ratio from non-residential to residential by one per cent each year for the next three years.
Councillors had already approved a residential property tax increase of 3.4 per cent for next year. Upped spending, if it goes ahead, would add another 2.4 per cent and the tax share shift would be responsible for two per cent.
Through those increases, the city wants to boost investment and try to tackle housing and transit issues.
“We’re seeing some service deficiency and some infrastructure deficiencies,” said Dhaliwal.
Dhaliwal said the potential increases to taxes should be looked at as much-needed investment.
“The return of investment into city, into our services,” he said.
From people he has spoken to in Ward 5, Dhaliwal believes they can live with the increase if it’s reflected in additional services.
“They want to see better transit delivery, they want to see public safety getting better on transit,” said Dhaliwal. “They want to see improvements to snow and ice removal.”
The deliberations will conclude Friday, with councillors discussing the recommendations brought forward by administration, offering any potential changes to the operations budget.