If Edmonton received a fair deal from Alberta, your property taxes could be virtually eliminated this year.

Edmontonians are not receiving a fair deal from the provincial government. If the UCP reversed reductions and funded Edmonton fairly, your property taxes could be ~7% lower. 

As Council enters into our annual Spring Operating Budget Adjustments (SOBA), I wanted to share my continued frustration with how Premier Smith’s failure to govern responsibly is impacting our municipalities. 

Mayor Sohi recently wrote to Premier Smith outlining the increasing number of ways the provincial government is cutting funding to municipalities (Read and share the letter). Not only is it irresponsible, it is expensive and unsustainable.

You have probably seen my comments by now about the Provincial government deciding to stop paying their property taxes in 2019 (https://edmontonjournal.com/opinion/columnists/michael-janz-alberta-govt-needs-to-pay-its-property-taxes-too). That decision has cost Edmonton approximately $60 million dollars, and that amount grows each year. 

Just a few of the other provincial decisions that are costing Edmontonians money are: 

  • Not designating Highways 2 and 16 as provincial, as they did with Deerfoot Trail in Calgary, downloading maintenance costs onto Edmonton to the tune of approximately $17 million annually.
  • Provincial funding for local infrastructure dropped from about $424 per Albertan in 2011 to about $154 per Albertan today.
  • Amending the funding formula for municipal funding from the province (formerly known as the Municipal Sustainability Initiative), short changing Edmonton by approximately $36 million per year.
  • In 2023 the City of Edmonton incurred $9.1 million in direct costs associated with drug poisonings a 790% increase since 2018.
  • not repaying Edmonton $2.2 Million in provincially mandated costs for the 2023 Shigella outbreak.
  • Cutting funding for DNA testing in 2020, costing Edmonton approximately $5 million per year.
  • Underfunding emergency medical responses, costing Edmonton $28 Million in 2023 alone, due to Edmonton firefighters responding in lieu of.
  • Cutting municipality's share of fine revenue from automated traffic enforcement in 2019, costing Edmonton approximately $5-6 million each year since.
  • Underfunding public health responsibilities resulting in higher police costs (According to the police, much of the police service calls are non-police work, but failures in health care and the police are the largest item in the city budget and we pay the highest per capita for policing in Alberta)

There are more but I think you get the picture. Currently, 1% of our municipal tax rate is approximately $20 million. It is not an exaggeration to say that the Smith government’s failure to pay their bills is accounting for 7% of Edmonton’s tax rate- likely much more. 

Yes, we have other financial pressures at the city level. I am not trying to shirk off any responsibility for effectively managing our books as a city or rigorous accountability for expenditures. Many councillors are working very hard to address the root causes and identify solutions (such as curbing urban sprawl). 

No matter who you voted for, Mayor, or MLA, now more than ever we all need to come together and demand a fair deal from the legislature like Premier Smith calls for from Ottawa.

Latest posts

May 8th City Hall News


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  • Wednesday May 15th - Minding the Gap: Police Accountability in Alberta 

  • Saturday May 25th - Harbinger showcase and live podcast recording

  • Youth Council Recruitment!



  • We Won! Protecting the public interest - public funds for public buildings

  • Ending Pay to play and bill 20: Halt big corporate money taking over City hall!

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May 2nd City Hall News


  • May 11th - Alberta Bike Swap
  • May 13th - Summer Streets launch party
  • Big Bin Events This Summer! 
  • Fire Hall open houses
  • May 25th - Harbinger Media Network Showcase
  • July 1st - Mill Creek Pool reopening

News & Views

  • Bill 20 is a disaster. Take action
  • Housing Crisis: What is the role of the University of Alberta?
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  • Understanding property tax increases
  • The Edmonton Police Commission is refusing to share its plans for auditing the local police department with city council. Councilor Keren Tang put forward a motion in December last year to have a look at the plan, which council approved. But now the EPC says it “owns the audit function” and does not “support sharing that responsibility with council.” 

  • Don't fall for privatization: Chicago doesn't own their own streets (Video)

Challenging the U of A: Leading with purpose in housing and land use planning

City Council recently approved a rezoning across the street from the U of A and it got me thinking about all the underutilized or unused space on the U of A main campus.

The expression I often hear at city hall is “highest and best use of city land” – in other words, land that brings benefit to the community (eg, a park or public space) or land that generates revenue for the city to offset taxes and pay for services (Industrial, commercial, residential in that order) 

But what if the University of Alberta could generate revenue and mitigate the housing and climate crisis? The university already has the vehicle: the U of A Properties Trust, an arms length development corporation that pays dividends back into the U of A through innovative developments and land leases.

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