EDMONTON — Mayor Don Iveson hopes the city can give taxpayers a break by suspending the neighbourhood renewal levy for the next three years.
“I think it’s time for some restraint when it comes to our appetites around infrastructure,” Iveson said Tuesday.
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The city is proposing a 4.9 per cent property tax increase each year for the next three years, with 1.5 per cent dedicated to neighbourhood renewal. In tough economic times, Iveson said the 4.9 per cent increase is a lot to ask of Edmonton taxpayers.
By suspending the neighbourhood renewal levy, Iveson hopes to bring down the proposed tax increase to the mid-three per cent range. Iveson is confident the city will be able to keep pace with neighbourhood renewal in 2016 with $20 million in Municipal Sustainability Initiative dollars.
As for 2017 and 2018, Iveson hopes the money will come from savings on other projects and grants from other orders of government, but admits funding will have to reevaluated after their spring budgets.
“To be clear, I want to continue the pace of work,” Iveson said. “I don’t want to slow down the program, I want to change how we fund the program by pre-allocating savings that I’m confident will come with costs coming down.
“If costs start to go back up and we don’t get the continuing grant from other orders of government then we can look at lifting the suspension or changing other priorities.”
Iveson said it’s also time the city stop paying for programs which fall under provincial jurisdiction, like affordable housing.
Iveson details his budget plans further in his blog.
Full budget deliberations begin on Nov. 27.