Calgary city council just slashed through its budget, cutting $60 million in city services with an expected result of 115 jobs lost and a total of 223 positions cut.
The proposed budget cuts were voted on during a late council meeting on Tuesday, with a vote of 13 to 1 coming just after 11 pm.
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The cuts were made in an effort to bring relief to Calgary’s businesses, which have been hurting from the rising non-residential property taxes over the past few years.
A release from the City of Calgary stated that “a sharp decline in the assessed value of downtown non-residential properties has resulted in the redistribution of property taxes to non-residential property owners outside of the downtown core,” and that this $60 million cut will be directed towards the 2019 Municipal Non-Residential Phased Tax Program.
Looking at the list of proposed reductions provided by the City of Calgary finds that the $60 million is being largely cut from Corporate Programs ($6,253,000), Fire and Emergency Response ($7,625,000), Police Services ($7,000,000), and Public Transit ($6,893,000).
Approximately 80,000 public transit service hours will be cut, impacting the span and frequency of bus service, while four medical response units and one rescue unit will likely see frontline positions reduced.
The vote comes just one day after the city approved a deal with the Calgary Sport and Entertainment Corporation wherein the two would split the cost of an estimated $550 million arena — the timing of which was not lost on some vocal Calgarians.
So, just to recap.
Last night at Calgary City Council: Discuss plans to spend $275M on a hockey arena
Tonight at Calgary City Council: Decide how to divvy up $60 million in cuts to police, fire, transit, affordable housing, Indigenous relations office, etc #yyccc #BecauseCalgary
— Annalise Klingbeil (@AnnaliseAK) July 24, 2019
The Calgary Flames will have more support from council than the ones who risk their lives fighting flames. Cool! https://t.co/wsTlCmxKI5
— Mike Morrison 🏳️🌈 (@mikesbloggity) July 24, 2019
More cuts may be to come, as the City of Calgary’s July 23 release states that it will continue looking into “opportunities to streamline costs and improve the value and affordability of services provided to Calgarians,” according to Carla Male, the city’s chief financial officer.
“In addition to realizing the $60 million, and the savings we committed to last November, we will continue to work with council to determine what further reductions are needed for 2020 and beyond to continue to support Calgary’s economic recovery,” she said in the release.