I’m getting a sinking feeling

I don’t know if I can connect the dots, but I think this story about a tough budget ahead for Edmonton City Council, this one about how more money is needed to fund LRT expansion (or else see it shelved, again), and the downtown arena’s already rising costs might be connected.

I’m probably just making up connections that aren’t there, as I’m terrible at math and there’s no way building a half-billion dollar arena could have an impact on the City budget. Just some Friday paranoia, I guess.

How are the Oilers going to play in that?

2 thoughts on “I’m getting a sinking feeling”

  1. Your sarcasm suggests a close connection between taxes, arena funding, and LRT funding. There are obviously connections but they aren’t as strong as you seem to think.

    Taxes, by and large, fund the operations of the city – the ongoing stuff that gets done every day, like potholes, police, snow clearing, patrolling parks, cleaning litter, operating pools and skating rinks and the Muttart and etc. etc. etc. Most capital projects, like multiplexes and roadbuilding, is funded by provincial and federal cost sharing and borrowing at good rates, then repaying over years. Big capital projects, like LRT and arenas, get paid for out of a whole raft of funding pots, not all of which are open to cover other things. We can’t charge a ticket tax at Rexall to pay for roads.

    Obviously there’s some bleed, as when the city buys land for an arena now with the expectation of payment later. But the main reason taxes are set to go up isn’t because Council decided on an arena funding model (note that they haven’t authorized any actual capital expenditure yet). It’s because we have demanded more services and those services are going to cost more. Taxes were going to be an issue no matter what happened with arena redevelopment.

    TL;DR Yes taxes are impacted by the arena, but not as much as your snark might suggest.

  2. Without sarcasm I am nothing!

    I was linking to the budget more than taxes. I realize the 2012 tax hike, as it pertains to the arena, will likely only be impacted by the land purchase (though that nearly lines up with the amount looking to be cut).

    But I link the arena to LRT and the City budget in general because of the terrible irony of councillors talking about how things are going to be tough, right after they approved what will be a massive strain on budgets and spending for years to come.

    I also want them to bump the neighbourhood renewal tax hike up to 2% again.

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