City of Regina proposes 3.49% property tax increase and 5% utility rate increase in Budget 2022

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The City of Regina’s proposed budget for 2022 includes a property tax increase of 3.49%.

If approved by city council next month, the hike would represent about $ 6.31 more per month, or $ 75.72 more per year, for homeowners whose homes are valued at $ 315,000.

The Council is expected to deliberate and finalize the operating, investment and public service budgets for 2022 on December 16 and 17.

“If we don’t increase the thousandth rate, it will get worse year over year,” City Manager Chris Holden said at a press conference Tuesday morning.

“It just puts us in a position where we would have a hard time making the capital investments we need to make sure we can continue to provide services.”

The increase in property taxes next year, Holden added, would allow the city to invest $ 6.9 million in recreation programs and infrastructure – something he has noticed more and more residents are interested throughout the pandemic.

“As people stayed at home, worked from home, could not travel, people participated a lot more in what was happening in their neighborhood. They walked more in our streets, played in our parks,” he said. Explain.

“There is an increased expectation and appreciation for our open space, park, sports and cultural programs. That’s why we need to make these investments. “

Other “strategic initiatives” the city hopes to take through a thousandth rate increase include:

  • $ 6.3 million for green projects, including $ 5.5 million to create a household food waste and gardening program.
  • $ 1.4 million for community safety and wellness initiatives.
  • $ 1.2 million to address the backlog of sidewalk maintenance.
  • $ 1 million to make recreational activities more accessible to people with disabilities.

The city government is also proposing $ 136 million in next year’s general capital fund for infrastructure maintenance and renewal of roads, bridges, sidewalks and municipal facilities. This includes:

  • $ 18.2 million for the Street Infrastructure Renewal Program.
  • $ 12 million for the Residential Roads Renewal Program.
  • $ 10 million to improve the Saskatchewan Parkway corridor.
  • $ 10 million for the modernization of Pinkie Road (from Sherwood Drive to Dewdney Avenue).
  • $ 5 million for the renewal of bridge infrastructure.

Dedicated thousandth rate increases for Mosaic Stadium (0.45%) and the Recreational Infrastructure Program (0.50%), as well as for the Regina Police Department (1.32%) are included in the overall increase in property tax. Budget 2022 is also expected to be the last time Mosaic Stadium is included at the dedicated thousandth rate, with the 10-year commitment ending, according to the documents.

The police budget, which is expected to be discussed and decided on December 15, is expected to be set at $ 104 million, which is $ 4 million more than in the 2021 budget.

The city administration is also proposing a five percent increase in utility tariffs next year. According to the documents, 2% of this amount is used to speed up the replacement of lead pipe fittings.

Residents wishing to address Council by phone during the budget deliberations on December 16 and 17 should provide a written submission and phone number to the City Clerk’s office by emailing [email protected] or by phone at 306 -777-7262 before noon. December 9.

New money to fight homelessness

The proposed budget also lists new funding for initiatives to improve the safety and well-being of communities.

This includes $ 500,000 set aside for harm reduction and $ 875,000 for a new Community Safety and Well-being Plan, which aims to implement a strategy to help the city and community organizations cope. problems such as the homelessness crisis.

Camp Hope, a tent community formerly set up in Regina’s Pepsi Park, was dismantled last week, after most residents were moved to a temporary emergency shelter. (Jessie Anton / CBC News)

Holden said it was still planned to have that money in the proposed budget, but Camp Hope (the tent community formerly based at Pepsi Park) made it clear that this had to be a priority.

“There are different responsibilities at different levels of government – both federal and provincial – but at the end of the day the realities of our most vulnerable people are on the streets of our city, so we have a role to play. ”Holden said.

He added that finding “more durable solutions” after the six-month temporary emergency shelter ends is one of the plan’s primary goals.

The financial blow of COVID-19

COVID-19 is expected to cost the city $ 4.6 million next year, according to the proposed budget report.

In addition to the loss of income, the documents indicated that the city planned to spend an additional $ 500,000 on expenses, such as personal protective equipment and additional cleaning needs.

According to Barry Lacey, the city’s executive director of financial strategy and sustainability, there are plans to use the remaining $ 2 million from the COVID-19 recovery reserve, with the remainder coming from the general fund reserve.

“Even as the city and province continue to recover from COVID-19, the economic and social effects of the pandemic will continue into 2022 and possibly beyond,” he said at Tuesday’s briefing.

“While the economic environment must be taken into account for the 2022 budget, the city is also aware of the impact of today’s decisions on the future.”

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