As big city charter discussions get underway with the Alberta government, city council has a few topics they want to bring to the table.
Community planning, affordable housing, and taxes are a few things Edmonton city councillor Michael Walters has in mind. He also wants to get a conversation going on a new fiscal framework.
“I think it’s important that we, when we think about a new fiscal deal for cities that we’re thinking about the city’s best future — best possible future in terms of helping grow the economy that’s going to make the province successful as opposed to the limitations of today’s low oil prices,” says Walters.
He says how taxes are paid out to the city needs to get a closer look.
“Recognizing that, you know, we’re responsible for — here’s the song and dance, we’re responsible for 60 per cent of the infrastructure and we get six to eight cents of the income tax dollar back in grants that have a myriad of conditions and associated begging with them.”
Alberta Municipal Affairs Minister Danielle Larivee says the issue of taxation powers for the city has not been part of the conversation so far.
“There is clearly a recognition that this is a very tough time for the province and that is just not a conversation to be had. And I also want to emphasize again that there are no backroom deals to be made in this area. Everything we do will be posted,” says Larivee.
“It’s more about finding innovative ways of funding things rather than about making it taxing people more than they’re already sitting at.”
Next month, big city charter information sessions will be held in both Edmonton and Calgary. Edmontonians can give their feedback on the charters on October 3 and 4, from 5:30pm to 8:30pm at Lister Centre at the University of Alberta.