Premier, Edmonton Mayor, and Mayor Nenshi sign Framework Agreement for Charters

Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson, Premier Jim Prentice and Mayor Nenshi. Photo by Lyle Aspinal, Calgary Sun (via Twitter)This afternoon, I was pleased to join with Premier Jim Prentice and Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson to sign a "Framework Agreement For Charters" between our orders of government. City charters for Alberta's big cities is something we've been working on for some time, and this framework is an important step toward achieving this important legislative change. A charter makes it easier for our cities to serve our citizens with the services they need the most and it will definitely improve the lives of Calgarians and Edmontonians. I look forward to working with the Premier and Minister Diana McQueen to redefine the relationship between the province and our two biggest cities.

Click here to view the "framework agreement".

- Mayor Naheed Nenshi

Column: City of Calgary a lean, efficient machine; Latest budget contains more than $50 million in efficiency savings

I haven't written an op-ed in the Calgary Herald for over a year, so the passing of The City of Calgary's new four-year budget and business plan seemed like a perfect opportunity to return. Here's my column as it appeared in today's newspaper:

This week, after six days of pretty intense debate, your city council passed its four-year business plan and budget, with a final vote of 14-1. Before I tell you a bit about what the budget means to you, it's helpful to step back and take a look at the process.

First, why is it that you never see such intense scrutiny of a federal or provincial budget? After all, over 90 per cent of the taxes you pay go to the provincial and federal governments (and Calgarians, as a whole, send nearly $4 billion a year to the provincial government, and over $11 billion a year to the federal government, than we get back from either of those governments).

The answer is two-fold: first, your municipal government holds itself to a very high level of transparency and accountability. We started discussing this business plan and budget in January, and more than 24,000 of you participated in helping to build it - online, at public events, even on the Engagement Bus. You told us what you wanted more of, what you wanted less of, and how we should pay for it.

Second, the city calculates our taxes and budgets differently than other governments. Our only source of tax revenue is the property tax. I'll save the lecture on why this tax is regressive and unfair for another time, but allow me to exp