City of Regina releases proposed 2020 budget, eyes 3.25% mill rate increase

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WATCH: Regina city administration released a proposed 2020 budget Friday morning, with what they're calling the "lowest mill rate increase in a decade." – Nov 15, 2019

Update: Monday night is the first night of budget deliberations for Regina’s city council.

On the agenda – 40 delegations presenting on issues that they think municipal politicians should be paying attention to.

“People are paying attention and they want to be a part of the solution and a part of the discussion and I think that’s great,” said Michael Fougere, Regina mayor.

The future of Regent Park Par 3 Golf Course will be brought up on Monday along with Wascana Pool.

The library transit and biking infrastructure are also on the list.

Original article resumes:

Regina city administration released a proposed budget for the coming year on Friday morning.

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The proposal was highlighted by a total proposed mill rate increase of 3.25%, which administration says would work out to a property tax increase of about $5.60 a month for a home assesses at $350,000. The city says the mill rate increase is the lowest in a decade. In 2009 it was 0%.

A look at how the proposed mill rate increase would affect property taxes. Global News
A breakdown of the proposed mill rate increase. Global News

Broken down, the city says 2.3% of the total proposed mill rate increase will bolster civic and Regina Police Service Operations, 0.45% of the increase would go towards the repayment of Mosaic Stadium, and 0.5% of the increase would go towards a dedicated “Recreation Infrastructure Program”.

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“It’s difficult for those cultural priorities and recreational priorities to compete against some of the other requirements in the budget,” said Regina City Manager Chris Holden. “So, council has looked at the opportunity to say ‘let’s put a dedicated tax there, we’ll invest it in culture, recreation.'”

City council will first meet to deliberate on the proposed budget on Dec. 9.

Anyone from the public looking to comment on the proposed budget can appear as a delegate at the Dec. 9 council meeting. Written briefs of comments must be submitted to the city by 1 p.m. on Dec. 3.

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Regina Mayor Michael Fougere called the proposal a “start”.

“This is administration’s best effort to put a budget together for council and the public to consider,” he said. “Council now has its hands on it, the public will see it and give feedback and we’ll talk about it as council and go from there.”

Though he didn’t specify a number or rate, Fougere said he’d like to see the mill rate increase lowered before the budget is approved.

“There’s gonna be some changes. I’d be fairly confident to say there will be some changes. We’re looking at 3.25 right now and I say we should be under three per cent.”

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The City expects general operating expenses to be $472 million next year.

Listed spending priorities include:

  • $41 million for roads
  • $96 million for the Regina Police Service
  • $44 million for Regina Fire & Protective Services
  • $40 million for transit services
  • $24 million for garbage and recycling collection

The proposed budget also includes a three per cent increase to the water utility rate.

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