06/20/2016 12:47 EDT | Updated 06/21/2017 01:12 EDT

Taxpayers group urges Calgary mayor, councillors to take pay cut to lower taxes

CALGARY — The Canadian Taxpayers Federation says Calgary's civic leaders are getting paid too much at a time when other Calgarians are struggling due to a slowdown in the oilpatch.

The taxpayers group suggests city councillors should take a five per cent pay cut and Mayor Naheed Nenshi should shave his salary by 10 per cent.

It also recommends the city should push for a five per cent rollback for all municipal government employees in future contract negotiations.

The taxpayers federation says the reductions would save $119 million next year, which could be used to lower property taxes by almost 2.6 per cent.

A City of Calgary website says the mayor's total salary is more than $218,000 a year, while councillors get over $116,313.

The taxpayers group says city documents show salaries, wages, overtime and benefits account for 45 per cent of Calgary's tax-supported expenditures.

"Reducing pay and perks means reducing property taxes," Alberta spokeswoman Paige MacPherson said in a release Monday.

"Calgary workers and businesses are taking wage cuts and layoffs to stay afloat. Government employees should join reality and help take the burden off taxpayers."

The taxpayers federation is also calling for councillors to scrap what it calls their gold-plated pensions.

Salaries for the mayor and council are increased or decreased each year based on average wage inflation or deflation in Alberta.

Workers belonging to the Canadian Union of Public Employees, the largest union at city hall, received a 12.5 per cent increase over four years in their last contract agreement.