2019 retrospective, 2020 hopes with Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi

As the final hours of 2019 approach, Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi is reminiscing on how the past 365 days went in the city and how he hopes the next 366 will go.

Economy, property taxes and businesses

In a year-end interview with Global News, Nenshi met the question of where Calgary’s economy is going with optimism.

“If you look at the cold, soulless numbers, you will see that on almost every measure Calgary is doing better than it was at this time last year — better than 2017 and much better than 2016,” he said.

“But I think a lot of families are not feeling that themselves,” Nenshi added, citing frozen wages and unemployment rates.

The mayor said he wants to spend 2020 telling stories of business success.

“I’m also really excited about some of the irons we have in the fire about non-energy sector businesses that are looking at investing here in Calgary, and ultimately, I’m confident about small businesses in Calgary being able to thrive,” he said.

Nenshi addressed the controversial issue of property taxes, mentioning that the city has spent about $200 million over the last three years on direct cash rebates for businesses.

“Spending that money year on year is really just a Band-Aid, and sometimes you need a Band-Aid if you’re bleeding,” he said.

“But this year, council decided to do something a bit more structural. So in our budget, we kept the overall tax increase at zero but we’re asking each homeowner to pay a little bit more in order that businesses can pay a lot less,” Nenshi explained.

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