Living in the Friendly City is going to get more costly, and it’s not receiving a warm welcome from residents.
“It sucks,” one resident said. “It keeps going up every year, it’s getting ridiculous.”
“Who can afford that on minimum wage? Nobody,” another resident said.
On Tuesday night Moose Jaw City Council voted in favour of increasing property taxes by 5.01 per cent. For the average Moose Jaw homeowner, with an assessed property value of $252,000, that means paying an extra $5.35 a month.
Council also voted in favour of increasing water utility rates by 15 per cent and increasing sanitary sewer rates by six per cent. That will cost the average resident an extra $11 a month.
The interim chairperson Citizens Advocating for Sensible Taxation (CAST), Terry Gabel, is critical of some of the decisions of council.
“(A) four per cent operating budget is pretty high, I would have liked to have seen more spent on capital. Less than one per cent of this increase is going to go to capital spending, which means infrastructure,” Gabel said.
“It’s disappointing to see some of the councillors discussing spending the reserves without a plan, and it’s disappointing to see a four per cent increase in operating when the issue in front of council is infrastructure.”
The Moose Jaw & District Chamber of Commerce says local businesses are going to feel the impacts of this year’s budget, but the Chamber’s CEO is maintaining a positive outlook.
“I think there’s lots of potential opportunities for us going ahead,” Moose Jaw & District Chamber of Commerce CEO Rob Clark said. “This here is another kick to the knees, but I am still optimistic that our future in 2018 is going to be good.”