The finance minister is adamant that consultation and ongoing discussions to create financial flexibility within municipalities remains top of his agenda.
Finance Minister Kevin Doherty says municipalities, including Regina don’t neccesarily need to raise taxes further to help bridge the gap. He adds reserves are there, and are useable.
Doherty also responded to a statement earlier Monday from the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association, which claimed the government isn’t acting like a partner should.
“Well fair enough” said Doherty. “If that’s how they want to characterize that, that’s how they will. We said in our meeting a couple of weeks ago was that we need to have a larger conversation, which they agreed to, moving forward on the entire funding envelope. So I’m hopeful we can sit down and have those kinds of discussions.”
The government and SUMA met last on March 29th.
In the meantime, The Finance Minister says it’s up to cities to try and come up with savings from a shortfall budget, but says the province will be there to talk them through it from start to finish.
Minister Doherty said he has had multiple discussions with the City of Regina, and those in the chambers of power are well aware of certain options in front of them.
“Mayor Fougere said over and over again, is this a one-year deal?” said Doherty. “Because if this is a one-year deal, it changes the conversation. He (Fougere) said we have options when it comes to the reserves.”
Premier Brad Wall remarked in question period that municipal reserves are there to be used, and isn’t certain higher taxation is the way to go.