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Calgary, Saskatoon city councils proposing property tax hikes

By Andrew Moran     Nov 28, 2012 in Politics
Calgary - Both Calgary and Saskatoon residents could be seeing their property taxes increase. The city council in Calgary is debating whether or not to lower next year's property tax hike, while Saskatoon is putting forth a five percent raise.
The city councillors in Calgary are expected to pass the 2013 budget Wednesday, but much of the debate going on is whether or not to spend millions of dollars in priority areas or lower next year’s property tax increase.
If the property tax is lowered, homeowners could see their property taxes only rise by 4.8 percent, which means the average Calgary resident would save $1 each month. However, Mayor Naheed Neshi told CBC News that the property tax reduction shouldn’t be the solitary purpose of the debate.
“For me, rather than have that discussion, I prefer to say as a city, what do we invest in?” Nenshi said. “I mean our property taxes are still the lowest of any major city in Canada.”
Meanwhile, Aldermen such as Andre Chabot and Peter Demong say the city could give Calgary taxpayers some of their money back because of excess cash. Alderman Brian Pincott says, though, that Calgary taxpayers are getting their money back through municipal services.
“The characterization that taxation is taking something that we shouldn't take, that we have to give back — well damn it, we're here giving it back every single day,” stated Pincott.
A preliminary budget released Wednesday suggests that Saskatoon homeowners could be seeing their property taxes jump 5.2 percent in 2013, which would result in an average $82 annual increase for a home worth $200,000, reports CBC News.
Next year’s budget includes $811.7 million in spending with $452.2 million for capital projects and $386.5 million for operations. Nearly one-third of the capital projects are slated for transportation-related expenditures.
The budget proposes one percent of the property tax be for paved roads maintenance, 1.55 percent toward police and 0.41 percent for fire services in the city.
All of the figures could be revised between Wednesday and the spring when council debates the budget.
More about Calgary, Saskatoon, property tax, City council, Budgets
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