Regina City Council will have much to consider Monday night when it addresses the impact of the provincial budget funding-changes announced two weeks ago on March 22.
The City says it anticipates a 10.3-million dollar impact this year (8-million dollars is due to the elimination of payments for access from SaskEnergy and SaskPower and 2.1-million due to the PST changes).
The City is required by law to balance the budget each year and was required to reopen and rebalance the 2017 City Budget.
“We are managing the City and its finances with a long-term view so we’ve had to make difficult decisions to balance the budget. Public safety is our first priority when considering the various options to programs, services or the level of those services. We worked to meet residents’ needs for affordability and also financial sustainability,” said Chris Holden, City Manager.
- City of Regina calls emergency budget meeting Monday after grants-in-lieu program cut in provincial budget
- Regina city council to revisit 2017 budget after tough provincial cuts
According to Regina City Hall, the proposed budget will be balanced through a combination of approximately 924-thousand dollars in revenue increases, 4.1-million dollars in reduced expenses and a 2.5-percent mill rate increase ($5.25 million in revenue).
Officials says public safety will not be jeopardized as as police and fire services, clean water and sewer services will not be affected.
These are the recommendations that will take effect this year according to Regina City Hall:
- A mill rate increase of 2.5-percent from the original approved increase of 3.99-percent. The impact on the homeowner with an assessed home value of $350,000 will be an additional increase of $3.87/month in 2017.
- A $1 million reduction in the Regina Police Service budget. Front line service and response times will not be affected.
- A 20-percent increase July 1, 2017 in street use permits and traffic bylaw fees
- Cost reductions for one-time savings of $246,000 and ongoing savings of $330,000 in addition to the $2.5 million reduction in administrative savings already included in the 2017 budget
- Program and service reductions for one-time savings of $874,000 in 2017, plus ongoing savings of $1.7 million
- A moratorium on all non-essential out-of-province travel
- A hiring freeze on all non-essential vacancies
- A targeted reduction in the overall labour force through attrition
There will also be reviews that will begin in 2018:
- The funding relationship with City service partners to ensure best value for funding invested
- The repeal of The Wascana Centre Authority Act and the tabling of The Provincial Capital Commission Act, which changes the relationship and financial obligations of the City with Wascana Park
- Property tax exemptions to build alignment with the community grant program to ensure equitable treatment and value for funding invested across all stakeholders
- The split of property tax between residential and non-residential property taxpayers to ensure equity and fairness
- Other tax opportunities including expanded application of the Amusement Tax
- Recreation services and service levels in response to the recommendations of the Recreation Master Plan
- Opportunities to establish solid waste management as a self-sustaining utility
- Fees for Planning and Building applications
These measures along with other discussion on Regina’s financial blue-print will be discussed Monday night at a special Regina City Council meeting.