With one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, it is imperative that the city fosters economic growth so more jobs can be created. We need to pursue ways to bring investment, business, and prosperity back to our city. The City of Calgary should maintain strong fiscal policies by prioritizing spending money on essential services while maintaining a balanced budget. This is especially important in today’s economy as a lot of our neighbours and friends have lost their jobs, businesses and homes. Reducing taxes for businesses and Calgarians combined with spending within the budget will provide a sustainable financial future.
Trust needs to be rebuilt in City Hall decision-making. Many major decisions have been made without the confidence of Calgarians. City Council does not release enough information regarding budgeting, expenses and voting. Taxpayers should be able to easily access their municipalities budget, expenses and voting record of all councillors.
Recently the city took positive steps towards increased transparency to taxpayers through the creation of the beta version of a voting record. Though this is a step in the right direction it does not go far enough. Calgarians deserve the transparency, to know where their Councillor stands and how they voted on past and present issues. This is why the city must expand the current system in place to all voting, both past and present.
Accountable representation needs to be restored for Ward 2. An elected official is a steward of the public purse and Calgarians should be confident in the usage of that money. Taxpayer dollars should be used conservatively to better align with Calgarian needs. Open communication with the community and constructive debate is vital to effective policy-making. City Councillors should be accessible and in touch with what is happening at the grassroots level of their constituencies.
Reduce the Tax Burden on the Suburbs
Calgary’s downtown has decreased economic investment, high property taxes and high vacancy rates. With increasing work-from-home options, there may be less workers commuting daily into downtown. A balanced budget would decrease taxes thus driving investment. We need to bring jobs back to Calgary and broaden the tax base so that the burden does not unfairly land on homeowners in the suburbs. We could achieve this by making it easier to convert empty downtown office buildings to residential or co-working spaces.
Snow Removal for Neighbourhood Streets
Snow removal is an essential service in our snowy city and our taxes should cover this very basic service. However, Ward 2 residents are concerned about large windrows (snow piles left over from plowing) blocking their access to roads and driveways. Also, some streets are too small for snow removal equipment to fit down the street so houses are left essentially marooned with no access. Large snow piles melt into ice which increase slip and fall accidents and trips to the hospital. Car collisions, police-call outs and blocked traffic due to stuck vehicles could be reduced if we address this problem. We should explore using private contractors for snow removal in neighbourhood streets which will support local business and create employment. In addition, a study is recommended for a city-wide parking ban to increase the efficiency of snow removal. We are also interested in exploring engaging and empowering volunteers, such as looking into a tax credit for those who help with snow removal on neighbourhood streets.