Hike service

Edmonton faces big tax increases or big service cuts

On average, staff said Monday, the council landed around the 3.4% increase the administration has identified as necessary to maintain existing services.

Content of the article

Edmonton city councilors will have to choose between deep cuts to some existing city services or potentially big property tax hikes later this year.

Advertisement 2

Content of the article

Council got a sobering look at the city’s ability to fund existing programs Monday morning, not including future items that Edmonton has already committed to, and anything additional councilors might want to add later. Inflation, an expected shortfall in transit fares, declining funding for photo radars, and years of lower tax rates are some of the factors identified by city managers as potentially playing a role in the current situation of the city.

Monday’s discussion is preliminary. This was an opportunity for city staff to get an idea of ​​the tax rates councilors could afford – councilors expressed support for a range of tax increases between 1% and 5%.

On average, staff said Monday, the council landed around the 3.4% increase the administration has identified as necessary to maintain existing services.

Advertisement 3

Content of the article

Pursuing new projects already underway would result in an 8.5% increase next year, but Mayor Amarjeet Sohi said he did not expect the council to support such a large increase. As discussions are still in their early stages, he said Edmontonians shouldn’t focus on those numbers just yet.

“I think that’s not where the advice is going to land, I can tell you that because we want to make sure that Edmontonians’ lives stay affordable, that our taxes stay affordable, that our user fees stay affordable “, he told reporters outside the council chamber on Monday. .

“But at the same time, we have to recognize that as the city grows, as our expectations of city government increase, we need to have additional resources to provide those services…Whether it’s building more sustainable modes of transportation, all of those things are what Edmontonians want us to do, but we will be very responsible.

Advertisement 4

Content of the article

The Council will need to prioritize future projects it wishes to support during budget discussions later this year, Sohi said.

Tax on car parks and private hotels?

Thinking of other ways the city could raise funds, the councilor. At Monday’s meeting, Michael Janz asked city staff if they should consider other sources of revenue such as taxes on vacant lots, parking lots or mansions.

“Vancouver has a mansion tax… I think we need to talk about not just tax tolerance, but also who pays the tax,” Janz said.

“We have people who are still being nickel and dime to survive in this town. I certainly want to have this conversation about fairness, not about cutting vital public services. »

Much of the city’s available money is already tied to projects approved in previous years — $3.83 billion for the creation of new projects from 2023 to 2026 — according to an administration presentation Monday.

Some of these big ticket items include the Valley Line West LRT, the Capital Line South LRT extension, and the Yellowhead Freeway conversion. This also includes major projects approved by this council last year and in the spring update, including the Lewis Farms Recreation Centre, improvements to the Edmonton Valley Zoo and a recent decision to fund a pedestrian bridge. between Edmonton and Strathcona County.

[email protected]

@laurby

Advertisement 1

comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively yet civil discussion forum and encourages all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments can take up to an hour to be moderated before appearing on the site. We ask that you keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications. You will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, if there is an update to a comment thread you follow, or if a user follows you comments. See our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.