ALBERTA

Calgary's $52 Million Tax Surplus Debate Gets Heated (PHOTOS)

05/29/2013 03:59 EDT | Updated 05/29/2013 03:59 EDT
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As Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi solicits citizens on how the city should spend a $52 million tax surplus, a few options are already ahead of the game.

A majority of eight aldermen support spending the money on transit development, the Calgary Herald reports.

While many attendees of the live debate in Calgary on Tuesday cheered the idea of giving the money back to Calgarians, with one woman shouting, "Right on, get our money back," investing in communities and debt repayment also seem to be the top options for some.

The five options given to Calgarians include transit, reducing non-residential property taxes, revitalizing communities, reducing the debt or lowering the tax that homeowners pay.

When the aldermen were asked what their second choice would be, transit and debt repayment were the top choices, the Calgary Sun reports.

While listing the pros and cons of all projects, Nenshi said the city still has to find money for bus drivers to run those buses.

Revitalizing communities lets the city revamp neighbourhoods, especially older areas, but choosing the communities will be challenging, said Nenshi.

"The cramped train ride I have nightly keeps transit my #1 choice,' said Jen K on Twitter.

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Brett Wilson Hosts Calgary's $52 Million Tax Surplus Debate

Aldermen John Mar said on Twitter that he preferred to combine funding transit with revitalizing communities.

The dragon himself seemed to be stuck with a final decision.

"I happen to believe that we need to continue investing in infrastructure," said Brett Wilson to The Huffington Post Alberta, adding that the debate between communities or transit was still in the air.

"I happen to use communities more than I use transit but I'm a believer in the city so I'll go with whatever looks right," he added.

"Nobody can set priorities better than you can set your own priorities," said Nenshi, while discussing the option of giving the money back to residential taxpayers.

He urged Calgarians to participate in the debate and insisted the city hasn't made a decision yet.