Olympic Vote, Construction Woes, Taxes

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Ward  e

Dear Friends,

Welcome back from the summer break! I would like your feedback on some important civic issues.

Construction

Thank-you for taking the time to respond to my survey regarding construction in our communities. I live in Palliser and have been trapped within my own neighbourhood. I heard that most of you are willing to accommodate some growing pains, as long as it’s for projects with tangible value and proven benefit. Another major area of concern was emergency response and pedestrian safety. Further, if the City starts something, it should focus on completion rather than moving to other work unfinished. I am advocating hard at City Hall on your behalf for changes and continue to welcome your ideas on how we can improve.

Olympic Vote

Calgarians will soon vote on whether or not to host the 2026 Winter Olympic Games. Council recently learned that we must “adjust” essential services in the City to prioritize/support a successful bid. Without massive tax increases, this likely means that essential services will be reduced elsewhere to support the Games. What are your thoughts around cutting essential services to host the Olympics? Considering the recent economic downturn and job losses, and existing deficiencies in services such as snow clearing, I’ve heard from the majority of you that now is not the time to pursue the Games. After two years of exploring an Olympic bid and spending millions of dollars doing so, we still don’t know what hosting would cost. For too long it has been a conversation between politicians and special interests, rather than the everyday Calgarians who will have to pay for it. City Administration has already confirmed that hosting an Olympic Games will cost more than the original $4.5 billion estimate, since this estimate does not include new infrastructure costs nor does it factor in inflation. We should be setting our city up for the success of Calgarians and for future generations, rather than planning Calgary around a three-week event.

Budget

As City Council heads into four-year budget deliberations, the City is recommending that property taxes be increased by approximately two to three per cent per year. After the fourth year of continuous tax hikes, these new increases would equate to over $500 per year for the average homeowner. While in the community and knocking on doors, most of you have said that you can’t absorb any more taxes or fees. “Increasing taxes” and “reducing services” is a false choice because it ignores the idea of reducing waste and doing more with the same, or more with less, like families, seniors, and small businesses have been forced to.

I hope to see you at this month’s Ward 11 Town Hall taking place on Thursday, September 20th (7-8:30pm) at the Southwood Community Centre – 11 Sackville Drive SW. Everyone welcome!

Respectfully yours,

Jeromy

(Ward 11 Councillor and Palliser resident)