There are a number of items in the Saskatchewan budget that make this a good news budget for Saskatoon. Mayor Don Atchison is pleased that the government renewed its commitment to revenue sharing.
“They’ve told us all along that they were going to stay with that, and they have. They’ve kept their word and that’s absolutely fantastic,” Atchison stated.
Saskatoon will receive more than $48.5 million dollars, which is up about $1 million from last year. This increase gives the city some room when setting their mill rate.
Atchison says this means the city’s budget is basically done already.
“The additional $1 million means approximately a half a percentage point saved on our property taxes for this coming year, half to three quarters of a point,” Atchison said.
Money for infrastructure
The budget also gives specific funding to both the North Commuter Parkway Bridge and the Boychuk Drive – Highway 16 interchange. Atchison says this “really shows a lot of trust and confidence in the City of Saskatoon” given that these projects are just getting started.
The North Commuter Parkway Bridge will receive $10 million from the Ministry of Government Relations with $14.7 million going to the Boychuk Drive – Highway 16 interchange.
At the same time as the budget was being announced, the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) hosted an economic roundtable focusing on global economic development challenges and issues.
Ken Coates, a public policy professor at the U of S, sees this budget as safe, but ultimately believes we will need to see change to keep up in this changing global economy.
“The rest of the world is changing a lot faster than Saskatchewan” Coates said, “but we’ve become a little bit complacent.”
“We’ve had the oil and gas, we’ve had potash, we’ve had uranium, we’ve had the agricultural sector, we’ve had a little bit of forestry, so you look at that and you think we’re alright, we’re protected on all these fronts. So what’s actually happening now? Well, climate change is changing a bunch of the equations about how prosperity works.”
Coates believes that Saskatchewan as well the whole country are in “for a few shocks” in the next five to ten years as technology rapidly changes and we try to keep up.