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Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi warns against stealing Green Line funding for tax freeze

Although the Green Line isn't being built as quickly as expected, Mayor Naheed Nenshi said money for a tax freeze could come from elsewhere

Calgary's Green Line funding is the latest target to achieve a zero per cent tax increase for 2017 and 2018.

Metro File Photo

Calgary's Green Line funding is the latest target to achieve a zero per cent tax increase for 2017 and 2018.

Hands off the Green Line funding, tax cutters.

Calgary’s Mayor Naheed Nenshi is warning councillors like Ward Sutherland, on a crusade to get the tax increase to 0 per cent, that they should stop sniffing around the set-aside taxroom for the Green Line.

“I’ll be very blunt, members of council looking for some one-time money next Monday when we start talking about tax rates, I will find you the one-time money elsewhere,” said Nenshi.

“Do not go after the money for the Green Line because I cannot go into a negotiation with the provincial and federal governments asking them for a commitment, while the city is reneging on our own commitment.”

Last week, Ward Sutherland put a stake in taking the city’s designated $52 million from the Green Line savings account and allocate it to city services instead, so property taxes can stay frozen from 2017 to 2018 because, as he told Metro “the Green Line is delayed anyway.”

On Monday, Coun. Shane Keating asked if the Green Line was indeed delayed and wondered what the implications of pulling back on the city’s contribution.

“I would not characterize the Green Line as being delayed,” said transportation boss Mac Logan.

“We had set out a schedule of milestones for council to review…we have not hit our fastest optimal times, but to say that the overall project is delayed – no, we never have had a set time.”

Logan and Nenshi noted the federal and provincial government are both keeping their eye on Calgary as they decide how to fund the project, and need assurances that it’s a priority.

“The numbers are getting very, very big, and a little bit scary,” said Nenshi. “Those are the numbers I need to walk into the negotiations with the federal and provincial governments that will happen over the course of this year.”

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