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Saskatoon city council sets property tax, maintains U of S rink funding

WATCH ABOVE: Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark discusses the measures approved by city council to deal with a $9-million shortfall in funding after the provincial government cut the grants-in-lieu program.

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.

READ MORE: Saskatoon property tax increase, wage freezes coming to address Sask. budget

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.

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“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.

READ MORE: City to spend $3M more on University of Saskatchewan arena project

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.

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