Originally Posted by halifaxboyns
If you look at the Toronto City Charter, provides a whole laundry list of powers to the city. But, the key was to find mechanisms to raise money to pay for services. So the Charter allowed them to create things like a vehicle tax, deed transfer tax and other things which increased revenues for the city. But it also gives them the power to determine their planning process, legislate public safety, parking and all that other fun stuff.
Yeah, much more master of their own house type thing in terms of planning.
Citizen power in city charter
New types of taxes face plebiscite
By Jason Markusoff, Calgary HeraldJune 14, 2012 6:29 AM
Calgarians will have a clear idea before the next civic election of their council's new powers and abilities to gain extra revenue under a city charter, according to an agreement the mayor and provincial government will sign Monday.
Municipal Affairs Minister Doug Griffiths is already signalling at some conditions he wants in a long-sought "new deal" for Edmonton and Calgary, including a plebiscite for any new types of taxes, and possibly a link between new funds and smart, cost-efficient urban growth patterns.
Neither city's mayor appears keen on bowing to those stipulations, if they're indeed part of the package that gives Alberta's two big cities more clout.
Personally I don't think having the items subject to plebiscite is bad - look at cities in the USA that have had to rely on revenues that grow and shrink with the economy, like sales taxes and land transfer taxes, for operational funds, and you see a failed model.
I also think if you put an add on gas tax and vehicle registration tax to vote in a value propostion for completing the SE and North Central LRT, it would get approved easily. It would also stop a future council from trying to get rid of taxes that are needed for things people want out of principle (such as Rob Ford's mini tax revolt).
The whole value proposition I think makes it work, sure it can be messy, but maybe Calgarians are willing to pay for nicer things, faster. I don't think we are much different from Denver, Salt Lake, or other cities in that regard.