Regina council reserves decision and approves full Eastern Water Pressure project

Regina City Council flipped its decision on the Eastern Pressure Solution project after more discussion at last week’s city council meeting.

In June, council voted to scale back the project from a pumping station and a pair of reservoirs to a station and just one reservoir to lower the immediate financial commitment.

At last week’s meeting, Coun. Bob Hawkins and Lori Bresicani motioned to reconsider council’s decision. After a discussion about inflating costs, council changed their minds about delaying the second reservoir and voted to reserve its decision.

The project was identified as a requirement in the City of Regina Water Master Plan to provide a long-term plan for the City’s water distribution network to accommodate growth by addressing pressure and storage issues.

The project is set to cost the City $162.1 million, with the additional reservoir costing an additional $25 million, bringing the total project cost to $187.6 million.

An amendment to the motion and later passed will see the second reservoir funded by a one-time mill-rate increase of 0.6 per cent in 2024.

The current plan to fund the rest of the project is to use development charges, which city staff said would be insufficient, or raise the city’s debt limit, which would have to be approved by the Saskatchewan Municipal Board.

Another option was to fund the project through a dedicated mill or utility rate increase. According to the report, to accomplish that, the city would require a mill rate increase of five per cent, at one per cent annually for five years, or a utility rate increase of two per cent for two years, followed by one per cent annually for the next three years.

The administration advised that increasing tax rates as a solution would “place additional pressures” on residents.

While the budget is months away, the 0.6 mill rate increase adds to the already four per cent utility rate increase next year and the three per cent increase in 2025.

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