After 17 hours of discussions, Saskatoon city council decided on a 3.89 per cent property tax increase in the 2017 civic budget.
For the average home in the city with an assessed value of $325,000, homeowners will pay an additional $66.18 in property taxes over the course of the year.
“While it is a back-to-basics budget in many ways, it also signals some significant changes in the way we’re doing a number our core operations,” Mayor Charlie Clark said.
During Wednesday’s discussions, council unanimously moved to cut $75,000 dollars from the Remai Modern art galley’s budget.
The move was offset Thursday by a decision to increase Saskatoon Access Transit’s budget. A new access bus was already budgeted, but the extra money will allow transit to staff the bus.
“You know people wait a week to book a bus and when they have appointments and things, that’s a real problem,” Coun. Bev Dubois said.
Coun. Troy Davies motioned to increase funding to a bundle of social programs, which would have resulted in a 0.01 per cent increase in the property tax.
His motion was defeated.
“The kids in our wards are our responsibilities just as much as provincial or federal. So I would expect us to continue to lead the way and we’ll see if I can find a different way to do it,” Davies said.
For a fifth consecutive budget, Davies brought up the need for more hockey rinks in the city.
Council voted in favour of a $79,900 decision to add a new employee to provide support to city councillors.
In total, the City of Saskatoon will add the equivalent of 57.4 full-time positions in 2017.