This week, Edmonton Council tabled an update to their operating budget, which showed that the City ended the 2020 calendar year with a $40.2 million budget surplus.
City staff talked a lot about how great a result this was for the City, how great a job they did to get here, and how great all the things they're going to spend the surplus on will be.
The City has proposed putting $24.8 million into their emergency reserve fund to go towards COVID-19 expenses, $7.6 million towards paying off a loan due in 2025, and $7.8 million more to general 2021 expenses.
But, hang on a minute - how exactly are they "saving" money if they just immediately spend all of the "savings" on something else?
It's almost as if the City of Edmonton doesn't even understand the concept of saving money!
Times are tough in Edmonton, and families are having to save money by actually spending less, not just by buying stuff in January instead of December.
At Common Sense Edmonton, we believe in the novel idea that the government should only take what they need, not as much as they can get their hands on.
Besides, you can guarantee that if the City accidentally collected too little in taxes and had a deficit, they'd make up the difference by hiking taxes the next year, not by spending less.
So, it's only fair that if they accidentally collect too much, they give it back!
$40 million might not sound like much to City staffers used to spending billions, but for many Edmontonians, every dollar matters right now, and they're spending every dollar as carefully as possible.
Maybe it's time Edmonton Council did the same?
If you agree, sign our petition demanding Edmonton Council refund last year's $40.2 million surplus to taxpayers and ensure this happens automatically in future years.
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