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Sask. in 2019: Tax hikes, fees & new regulations

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Saskatchewan residents are ringing in the New Year but with it comes some fee changes and new regulations to be aware of throughout the province.

Regina tax & utility hikes

Regina residents can expect to pay more taxes as of January 1st.

City council voted to raise the mill rate to 4.33 per cent at its budget meeting in December, meaning the average homeowner with a house valued at $350, 000 will pay around $86 more in property tax.

Residents will also see a slight increase on their utility bill due to a three per cent water rate increase, every year for the next three years.

The increase will translate to roughly an extra four dollars on your monthly bill.

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Saskatoon civic rates & fees

The Bridge City will see a property tax increase at 4.4 per cent effective Jan.1.

Water and wastewater rates will also go up overall by 9.25 per cent.

Residents will also have to pay more for other services including licensing their pets or playing a round of golf at a public course.

Potential provincial carbon tax implications

The federally imposed carbon tax’s fuel levy is expected to come into effect April 1.

According to gasbuddy.com this could impact gas prices in the province and right across the country.

Senior petroleum analyst Dan McTeague warns a five per cent per liter carbon tax could result in a jump at the pumps.

This prediction comes as gas prices hit a two year low in the province.

Meantime, the natural gas break that took effect in November for homeowners and businesses in Saskatchewan could be short lived due the carbon tax.

SaskEnergy dropped its commodity rate to the lowest offered since 1999 and could see another drop by April 1, however the Crown corporation warns the tax could have implications for residents.

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Officials say the average residential natural gas bill could increase 12 per cent which translates to $100-$120 more per year.

Saskatchewan will fight the carbon tax in court in February.

Provincial park passes

There is some welcome news for outdoor enthusiasts when it comes to booking sites at provincial parks.

Starting in April residents can reserve campsites with an upgraded online reservations system and this year seasonal campsites will be moved to the online reservation system.

Due to high demand, there will continue to be a queuing system for book reservations in Saskatchewan.

There will also be some increases to passes including the annual park entry permits which will increase $10 to $75.

Weekly permits will go up to $40 and three-day entry permits are no longer available in the 2019 season.

Seasonal electrical sites are up $500 to $2,600.

You can see a full breakdown of prices and learn more on booking reservations here.

Mandatory truck-driver training

New mandatory semi-driver training following the Humboldt Broncos Bus crash will also come into effect in January.

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As of March 15 the rules will apply to drivers seeking a class 1 commercial license in the province, meaning potential semi-truck drivers will require a minimum of 121.5 hours of instruction.

The new training will focus on professional driving habits, vehicle inspections and air-brakes.

Officials have said changes were the in the works since 2017 but the April 6 tragedy that claimed 16 lives expedited the process.

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