Regina will have to wait another week to find out what will become of this year’s civic budget.
On Monday night, after hearing over four hours of delegations speak out, council felt it was best to take everything into consideration before finalizing any decisions on this year’s budget, and decided to take a recess until April 18th.
Mayor Michael Fougere said they simply need more time to digest what they feel has been downloaded onto them by the province.
“City Council needs time to consider all this, this has been a very very quick turn around, in under two weeks we were told we were losing this resource that we had (grants-in-lieu) $11-million, so we want to make sure we get it right. We also want to make sure we understand what the delegations have said to us,” Fougere told reporters after the meeting Monday night.
Some of the delegations included the Regina and District Chamber of Commerce, the Regina Airport Authority and the Regina Lawn Bowling Club, who could be losing everything if the city goes through with a plan to cut funding for the club.
The city is looking to make up a shortfall of $10.3-million after a tough provincial budget that included cuts to the grants-in-lieu program.
On the table right now is an additional 2.5-percent increase to property taxes from the 3.99 percent rise seen in the original budget back in February.
As well as a 20-percent increase July 1, 2017 in street use permits and traffic bylaw fees, and a $1-million reduction in the Regina Police Service budget. Front line service and response times will not be affected.
- Regina City Council to consider cuts to wide-range of services at special council meeting
- City of Regina calls emergency budget meeting Monday after grants-in-lieu program cut in provincial budget
The province continues to remain adamant cities like Regina can tap into their reserves this year to make up the shortfall.
Despite a 2016 operation surplus of over $9-million, Fougere has continued to strongly disagree with Saskatchewan.
“They are not meant to cover off over expenditures, they’re not meant in our case to cover off a loss in revenue on the operating side. They are meant to plan for the future, we have several reserves for very specific issues and they fund those operations. They also fund working with the federal government on infrastructure projects. They are very important for emergency situations such as flooding. They are not meant to cover off a decision by the province to cut funding,” Fougere said.
This is the first time the city of Regina has had to re-visit a budget that has already been implemented for the year.