It was a hot topic of debate before the flood, what to do with the cities $52 million tax surplus.
Thousands of Calgarians gave their opinions and the options were narrowed down to five possibilities – putting it into transit, reducing the tax rate for businesses, maintenance and renewal of older neighbourhoods, reducing the city’s debt and giving it back to taxpayers.
Now, some council members are calling for a sixth option following the devastating floods and the idea is being backed by Mayor Naheed Nenshi.
Mayor Nenshi told CBC Radio the tax surplus should be used for flood recovery efforts after initial estimates of damage to the cities buildings and infrastructure came in at $256 million, a number Nenshi expects to double or triple.
He explains setting aside a bit of money to aid in flood recovery and future mitigation is the prudent thing to do and will be making a proposal to council about the move on Monday.
Nenshi says that while the province and federal governments say they will cover the costs, there are things that won’t be covered, something they know from past experiences.
Council seems mixed on the proposal.
Alderman Andre Chabot told The Calgary Herald the idea is ridiculous, and the Mayor should be pushing the governments to live up to their promise of aid and disaster relief funding.
Alderman Druh Farrell also told The Calgary Herald the money should go into future flood prevention but the city must hold the government to their promise to help in Calgary’s recovery.
The mayor wouldn’t comment earlier this month on potentially using the $52 million when asked by reporters at city hall.