What should the City of Calgary do with the $52 million surplus?

 Calgary Municipal Election

The city received more than expected revenue during the last year, leading to a $52 million surplus.  From May 16th to June 2nd, 2013, the city ran a multi-channel engagement program to find out what Calgarians thought should be done with the surplus1.  After the Calgary flood, council voted to spend this year's surplus on repairsand decide on future surpluses in November. 


The surplus should be returned to the taxpayer

The Surplus should be spent on flood repairs (and/or other city projects.)


Governments should not at any level be allowed to keep surplus income. Every dollar the government receives and spends rightfully belongs to the people from whom it was taxed, and therefore a failure to return surpluses whenever possible is equivalent to theft.


The city of Calgary is constantly searching for funds for various projects that provide value to Calgarians. Calgarians would not expect additional taxes in the case of a shortfall, so wise spending of these additional funds is a legitimate choice for city council.

Calgary Floods

The federal and provincial governments have made commitments to contribute to funding flood repairs.   City Council approving the use of this $52 million is redundant and unnecessary. The city also has a significant rainy day fund which could be used instead of keeping the surplus.

Calgary Floods

The floods across Alberta are expected to cost up to $5 billion3. Funds to pay for the damages will have to come from a wide variety of sources.   The City of Calgary needs to be prepared to pay some of the costs and should be considering every option.   This surplus is an ideal way to mitigate costs.

Public Consultation

The City is ignoring the public consultation. The people spoke and it is the responsibility of the government to listen to the voices in their community.

Public Consultation

The public consultation took place before the floods occurred. New polls4 suggest that voters are much more understanding of using the funds for flood repair.



A portion of the $52 million could be used by the City and the remainder returned.  This wouldn't satisfy proponents of both sides completely, but would be a compromise.

Calgary Surplus

What should the City of Calgary do with the million surplus?



The surplus should be used on flood repairs only if funds cannot be found elsewhere


The surplus should be used by the city. Either for flood repairs or for other urban projects.




The surplus should be returned to Calgarians
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1.     City of Calgary: How should the City use $52 million survey

2.     CBC News Calgary: Council votes to put $52M tax surplus toward flood relief

3.     CBC News Calgary: Premier estimates Alberta flood costs to top $5B

4.     Calgary Herald: Poll: How should we spend the controversial $52-million tax surplus? 

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