As I meet with residents across Ward 7, three priorities have become clear: Restoring Trust, Whole Community Planning and Financial Competence to manage through our current tax crisis brought on by the downtown office meltdown.
Our tax base has been hit hard since the collapse of oil. Yet over the last 7 years, we have had a 51% increase in property taxes. Needs are great – but there are financial limits.
Ward 7 wants a person who can manage through the financial crisis at City Hall. I have 22 years in the financial industry, working with public sector, private sector and not for profit organizations, large and small. I have also worked for years on not for profit boards, helping our civil society succeed. I understand the needs in the community as well as how to get value for money. Skill sets that are sorely lacking at City Hall.
Residents are expecting the city to do as we all have to do…live within our means.
- That’s why I am dedicated to a freeze on council wages for the next four years. From there, we can then negotiate from the top down to ensure everyone at the city is being fairly treated as we address this financial crisis. No one brought this crisis on at the city, but we all must be part of the solution when addressing it.
- It is also why I propose to limit property tax increases to no more than inflation and population growth. This position has also been adopted separately by the Calgary Chamber of Commerce.
- We must prioritize our spending. Like any household, we must take care of the urgent first and the rest will follow when funds are available.
These are short term solutions to our current crisis. We must also address medium and long term processes to improve our financial competence – including:
- Cutting red tape at City Hall to attract new and assist existing businesses to innovate and provide job growth.
- Adopt better overall fiscal management that puts in place better long term planning, understands all the costs of projects (direct and indirect) and undertakes disciplined cost/benefit analysis when choosing options on how to move forward.
And in this age of creative and ever changing economy, the most innovative and fastest growing companies look to establish and grow their businesses in cities that nurture creativity. A hallmark for this is a vibrant Arts Community. Due to the downturn, many of our arts organizations are on the brink of closing as their corporate sponsorships have disappeared. We must stabilize our arts community as they work to find new funding sources.
I’m Brent Alexander. I want to be your independent voice on council for Ward 7…Get your Voice Back.