Despite solid arguments for a higher rate from Couns. Candice Kolson and Tina Petrow, council approved a municipal tax increase of just 1.5 per cent for 2020. With provincial cuts impacting everything from public sector jobs to municipal infrastructure funding, we’re wondering how council intends to maintain service levels in a future where revenues are significantly reduced.
While Coun. Al Jones claimed he was looking ahead with “2020 vision,” Kolson reminded him “hindsight is 20/20." We’re concerned this budget will result in remorse.
In a financial report presented to council in 2017, overall satisfaction with quality of life and efficiency of services had already started to decline. At that time, staff asked, “Will we have the ability to continue to sustain service delivery without burdening residents with major tax increases down the road?”
It’s a very good question. Last year’s tax hike of almost 8.5 per cent saw the average homeowner paying only an additional $12 per month – and with this year’s increase projecting an extra $5 per household, it hardly seems unreasonable to see that amount raised a few dollars to ensure continued delivery of services and development and maintenance of infrastructure we all benefit from.
Kolson suggested an increase closer to three per cent, which likely would have put the City in a better financial position to offer more stable tax rates in coming years – we’re disappointed the majority of council felt differently. Petitioning for lower taxes may win the favour of constituents, but it certainly doesn’t make for responsible fiscal planning.
Council's priority should be ensuring Airdrie's sustainable future – not pandering to potential voters who lack an understanding of effective municipal governance.