ALBERTA

Calgary $52 Million Tax Surplus Back To Taxpayers In 2014; Transit After

11/27/2013 10:17 EST
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Naheed Nenshi, the young charismatic mayor of Calgary, a city renowned conservative, talking with people waiting for his conference on business opportunities in Calgary at The Hyatt Regency in Montreal on September 22, 2011. Being just an hour off Twitter is difficult for Calgary's savvy mayor, a Muslim who has gained authority despite his young age thanks to his charisma, humor and projects in the conservative city. 'In Canada and in particularly in Calgary, it's possible to do and to be anything regardless of where you come from,' said Naheed Nenshi, smiling broadly beneath his small-framed glasses and brown curly hair, during a visit to Montreal to attract investor to his city. AFP PHOTO / Marie Laure JOSSELIN (Photo credit should read Marie Laure JOSSELIN/AFP/Getty Images)

Calgary City Council has decided to return the city's $52-million tax surplus back to taxpayers in 2014, and use it towards building transit after that.

Eight out of fifteen members voted in support of the decision that will see the money from 2015-2024 go towards building bus-only lanes that will become the southeast and north-central LRTs, The Calgary Sun reports.

"We have an opportunity here where we can make some huge inroads into the southeast transit," Ward 12 Councillor Shane Keating told CTV Calgary.

In 2014, the money will be returned to taxpayers.

“When you see your property tax bill you will see what your property tax is, but then there will be a little subtraction,” Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said to Global News.

The decision will also cut down the proposed property tax increase of 6.1 per cent to almost zero, Global added.

City counillors announced in April that Calgary would have a $52-million tax surplus. The mayor and councillors debated five different ways to spend the money, including lowering taxes for businesses and investing in older neighbourhoods.

They also held public consultations to see how taxpayers thought the money would be best spent, including a public debate hosted by 'Dragon's Den' star Brett Wilson at a Calgary mall.

After the devastating June floods in Alberta, Nenshi suggested the money be spent on flood-recovery costs— something he also pushed for earlier this week in council.

Council also voted on Wednesday to freeze their salaries and give non-union staff a raise of 1.8 per cent.

With files from The Canadian Press

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