Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark said the city is facing a potential financial crisis following the release of the 2017-18 Saskatchewan budget.
The provincial government said it is discontinuing SaskPower and SaskEnergy payments in lieu of property taxes.
Clark said that is creating an “immediate fiscal crisis for the city.”
“This is an $11.4 million hole in our operating budget for providing core services to citizens.”
City manager Murray Totland said the city’s budget decisions have already been made and the change comes when the city is well into delivering services.
“We can’t just simply stop what we are doing and find $12 million at this point,” Totland said.
“This amount is more than the cost of running all of our leisure facilities, or 25% of our Fire Services budget, and close to the entire cost of snow and ice management in the city today,” added Clark.
Clark said the cut was made without consultation and amounts to a 5.7 per cent property tax.
Saskatoon city council is scrambling to figure out how they’re going to cope with cuts.
A special meeting is scheduled for Sunday to analyze the impact of the budget and create an ‘urgent business report on this matter’, according to a release sent Thursday.
“I don’t know how we’re going to solve this problem, but we have a real challenge when it comes to whether we raise taxes or cut services. It’s coming as a real shock at this point,” said Clark from Regina on Thursday.
“This has come out of the blue, we had no idea it was already on the table, especially at a time when we’ve already set a budget for 2017.”
He added that he hopes to have talks with Premier Brad Wall to discuss the impact it will have on the city.