Calgary council budget deliberations begin Monday
Cuts are comping to many departments as city tries to close $146M funding gap
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Calgary councilors have to hit the ground running after last month's election. Starting Monday, council will have a full week of budget deliberations and some tough choices ahead.
City administration was previously warning that councilors had to make up for $170 million dollar shortfall. That figure has now been reduced to $146 million, and administration has a plan to address it through cuts.
Among the cuts proposed are $2.83 million from Calgary Parks, $4.78 million from Calgary Fire Department, $6.83 million from Calgary transit and $4.26 million from roads.
These cuts would allow council to offer Calgarians a 0 per cent tax increase.
Ward 11 Coun. Jeromy Farkas campaigned on lowering taxes, and says he's ready to make difficult decisions if it means Calgarians don't see a tax increase.
"I'm prepared to go all the way," he said. After years and year of massive tax increases, he said part of the savings have to come from wages and benefits of city staff.
"Another four per cent increase in pay is just not sustainable," he said.
One item council will have to wrestle with is a proposed increase to the Calgary Police Service's budget.
After three years of toeing the line, the police commission said this year it would ask for a $14.3 million increase to its budget.
In reality, that's more like $20.8 million according to a report by administration going to council. Council would have to come up with $6.5 million that administration recommended cutting from the CPS budget, as well at the $4.3 million increase.