Calgary city council votes to rebate 'tax room' in 2017

Campaign finance reform in the air again as Calgary municipal vote looms

Calgary's city council voted Monday to take the tax room vacated by the province, which will be rebated to property owners in 2017, and council will decide in the coming months what to do with it in future years.

The province will be taking less of Calgary's property tax revenue to fund education this year than anticipated, which left $23.7 million of what's known as "tax room" on the table.

City council had already approved an effective tax freeze in the current year by using a one-time, $22.5-million draw from city reserve funds to offset what would have otherwise been a 1.5 per cent increase.

The rebate approved Monday will mean a median home in Calgary — valued at $460,000 — will see a $7 reduction in their property taxes this year, which equates to about 60 cents a month.

Council first voted 7-6 in favour of a Coun. Diane Colley-Urquhart motion to keep the money vacated by the province.

Voting in favour were:

- Mayor Naheed Nenshi

- Coun. Dru Farrell

- Coun. Diane Colley-Urquhart

- Coun. Evan Woolley

- Coun. Shane Keating

- Coun. Gian-Carlo Carra

- Coun. Brian Pincott

Voting against were:

- Coun. Sean Chu

- Coun. Andre Chabot

- Coun. Richard Pootmans

- Coun. Ward Sutherland

- Coun. Peter Demong

- Coun. Joe Magliocca

Couns. Ray Jones and Jim Stevenson were absent. 

Council then voted 11-2 in favour of a Coun. Sean Chu motion to rebate the money to taxpayers in 2017. They will now have to decide in the coming months what to do with the tax room in future years. Administrators have been tasked with preparing a recommendation.

The topic will likely come up again in June, when council will discuss financing of the massive Green Line LRT project.

Property tax notices will be sent out May 26 and are due June 30.