Edmonton's Chamber of Commerce asks city to cut property tax increase
The CEO says they've suggested other options, including a hiring freeze
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The Edmonton Chamber of Commerce asked city council Wednesday to rethink the planned 3.6 per cent property tax increase.
"We are urging city council to take every measure that they can to keep this increase low this year,” said CEO Janet Riopel.
She argued that raising the tax to cover inflation and population growth would require an increase of less than three per cent.
Riopel made the comments as council fielded dozens of funding requests from organizations across the city as they began debate on the 2018 budget.
Riopel said that the three-year operating budget, which outlines increases, was developed before councillors knew the full extent of the economic downturn.
“We are recognizing that there are some realities that the city has to face and what we are asking them to do, is to limit the property tax increases this year,” she said.
Riopel said some business owners are facing other new expenses, like an increase in the minimum wage and the carbon tax.
She said the chamber had suggested alternatives to a tax increase.
“One was to implement a hiring freeze, that would have an impact... We also encouraged that as we looked forward to the collective bargaining agreements, we talked about permit fee increases,” she said.
She said city administration believes the economy is getting better, but she's heard economy “modest” at best.