‘I think it’s going to be a real sticker shock’: reaction to Edmonton city council’s approved budget

After a busy two weeks of budget deliberations, Edmontonians now have a clearer picture as to where their tax dollars are going and how much more it’s going to cost homeowners.

“I think it’s going to be a real sticker shock for Edmontonians, those who are property taxpayers,” political analyst and commentator John Brennan said.

City council is getting mixed reviews on its latest budget. On Friday, council approved a capital budget of more than $7 billion along with an operating budget of more than $3 billion.

That increase means Edmontonians will pay 4.9 per cent more in taxes over the next three years, with an increase of 4.4 per cent in 2026.

Read more: Nearly 5% tax increases for next 4 years in Edmonton’s 2023-2026 budget

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“What we saw during two weeks of budget deliberations was council adding more things back in than they took out, and the result — the property tax increase when from 3.9 per cent to five per cent,’ Brennan said.

That increase is going to fund a number of projects, but Brennan questions certain projects city council decided to approve.

‘What I see as being the most controversial thing is the $100 million for bike lanes over the next four years, because the initial reactions from Edmontonians have been very negative,” Brennan said.

“But with regards to things like the Lewis rec centre, that’s certainly going to be popular in northwest Edmonton. For Edmontonians who support the LRT expansion, the continued construction of the western leg LRT, people are going to see support,” Brennan said.

But items like snow clearing will see its current budget trimmed in the new year going down 30 per cent.

“The city said despite less funding and a possible decrease in service, it will try to maintain current work levels until the end of winter.

“So I hope it doesn’t snow,” Ward sipiwiyiniwak city councillor Sarah Hamilton said.

Drivers will have to shell out more to park downtown.

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“Parking is going to increase at all the EPark stations by a dollar an hour and no longer will parking be free in the evening and parking will no longer be free on Sundays,” Brennan said.

“This could really hurt the downtown and discourage more people from coming downtown,” Brennan said.

While the vote was divided, many councillors agreed this was a tough budget that will ultimately be funded by taxpayers

“A vast majority of Edmontonians that did not take part in the municipal election, and if you don’t take part you really don’t have the opportunity to complain when council makes decisions like this,” Brennan said.

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