Regina City Council will need one more day at least to decide how they plan on spending tax dollars in 2019.
Monday night’s budget meeting needed more time than originally thought, as 28 delegations came to the podium to discuss various matters surrounding the budget, including 18 on the potential closure of Maple leaf swimming pool.
Mayor Michael Fougere said a reaction like that is exactly what he expected.
“You read the delegation with what they said, and of course when they actually read it, it’s very emotional, they have some very strong opinions on that, and it’s good to hear,” Fougere said. “This is democracy; this is what it’s all about. You don’t get this kind of interaction at the provincial or federal level when you’re doing budgets, so for me it’s insightful, and we know where people stand.”
Fougere said if the motion for the destination water park fails and Maple Leaf pool stays, there will be lots of consultation done to see what the public wants.
“I think we have an obligation to consult and do some public consultation about how people feel about that,” Fougere said. “If we come to the conclusion that the pool is what they want, then we’ll deal with that, but I think we need to have consultation to understand what the community looks at, so they know what the options are and we can go forward from there.”
Fougere said this certainly is not an easy issue to debate.
“Especially when you have an impassioned group of residents who come in here and spend the night listening to us, talking to us and telling us how they feel,” Fougere said. “These are not easy decisions to make, and nobody is taking this lightly. No one wants to be in the situation we’re in, we’re trying to provide some alternatives.”
Council will work Tuesday evening to see if the proposed 4.7% mill rate increase will be lowered, as well as a 3% increase in the water utility.