Saskatoon homeowners will see a 2.55 per cent per cent increase in residential property taxes after city council made a host of changes to fill a $9 million shortfall in its operating budget.
The increase includes a 0.93 per cent addition in response to the Saskatchewan government’s cuts to grants-in-lieu of taxes for SaskPower and SaskEnergy, along with a one percent increase in the provincial sales tax.
Council approved all of the recommendations resulting from a governance and priorities committee meeting held earlier this month, including a ten dollar increase to parking fines.
Brent Penner, executive director of the Downtown Saskatoon Business Improvement District, voiced his opposition to the change.
“The decision was just made in a manner that really didn’t look at the totality of parking,” Penner said.
“It needs to be more than just looking at fines, there’s a number of issues, I think, at play.”
Coun. Darren Hill previously gave notice that he would motion to rescind a $3 million grant to the group fundraising for a new arena at the University of Saskatchewan.
In a surprise move, Hill withdrew his motion, allowing the funding to remain.
“We are within $540,000 of our target, which is very encouraging. The community has stepped up in a big way,” said Tim Hodgson, Saskatoon chair of the Home Ice Capital Campaign.
The $41 million arena will eventually replace Rutherford Rink.