Political Blog of Fiscal spending and Better governance

Author: Francis Aranha

Calgary City hall spending

Unsustainable spending by our municipality often translates into property tax hikes. Our residents work hard to live within their means and expect their municipality to do the same. Cutting back on non-essentials and prioritizing services plays a role in the way municipality spends tax payers money. All I intend to do is create public awareness on the City of Calgary’s spending. The City has 61 services, plans and budgets. For more information, visit the City’s service plans and budgets.

Given the current challenges that local Calgary businesses face with the pandemic, the City should do everything possible to prioritize their spending. The City needs to find further efficiencies to reduce any proposed property tax increases in the future. This will ease the affects of the pandemic on all Calgarians.

The biggest cost for municipalities to control is labour. Did you know that according to a CFIB wage report from 2018, Alberta municipalities on average pay 15% more to their staff in wages and benefits than what those same employees would make in the private sector?

I also did some research on the councillors spending, last year’s expense reports filed by city councillors show a wide variety of spending and differing priorities (CBC News, 2021). Every member of council had a total of $280,900 in their budget last year for spending which was spent in various ways. Most of this budget went towards staff salaries. Each councillor has two or three assistants. Can’t we reduce this budgeted spending?

Some of my recommendations for the city would include:

  • Conduct municipal core service reviews to identify key services and ensure effective fiscal management.
  • Develop a long-term strategy to narrow the compensation difference between public and private sector employees.
  • Cut down, freeze Councillors/Mayors spending and salary
  • Privatize snow removal, to help local businesses get the contracts.
  • Establish both provincial and national committee that would provide us with an opportunity to benchmark and share information to achieve more sustainable labour agreements.
  • Get more businesses to invest into Calgary, invite people and give them incentives, that’s what will create jobs and keep the local youth to stay back and contribute towards the city, rather than migrating for better employment opportunities to other provinces.
  • Pressure the provincial government and demand action for Calgary’s Green Line project which will create jobs, and lead to better economic development and create jobs.
  • Sell city assets, privatise venues, privatize services.