Regina Mayor Michael Fougere says he wants a property tax freeze in 2021 and into the foreseeable future as he launched his re-election bid.
He said affordability is a critical issue in the city at the present time due to the coronavirus pandemic and said he would use the city’s reserve fund to hold the line on property taxes.
“While people in other major Canadian cities will likely face large property taxes increases in 2021, Regina will take a stand and use reserve funds to keep life affordable for residents and businesses,” Fougere said.
“Reserve funds are to be used for a rainy day and COVID-19 is such a time where we need to do all possible to keep life affordable for our citizens and businesses. I encourage all those running for city council to commit to the freeze as well.”
He said his experience as a two-time mayor is what is needed in the face of the challenge of COVID-19.
“We’ve made significant progress over the last eight years and I’m excited to be running for my third term as mayor to secure an even stronger future for all Regina residents,” Fougere said.
“We face new challenges because of COVID-19 and we need steady, experienced leadership to support Regina people, families and businesses.”
Long-time city Coun. Jerry Flegel, who is also running for mayor, said new leadership is needed so Regina can again be a dynamic city.
“I love our city. It has so much to offer, but unfortunately for the past eight years we have been treading water, unable to get things done, and it’s hurting our ability to attract new investments,” Flegel said.
“It’s time to be a dynamic city again, a city that gets things done. We need to start building again. But, to do that, we need new leadership, and a new vision for what our city can be.”
Flegel laid out an eight-point plan Tuesday of priorities he would tackle if elected mayor.
Those include redeveloping the vacant railyards along Dewdney Avenue, build affordable housing on the vacant Taylor Field site, plans for a new leisure centre in the southwest and renewing the downtown core.
“Renewing of the downtown core to attract people back to the services, facilities and businesses in the city’s centre is critical to the long-term health of Regina,” Flegel said.
The city, he said needs to “stop talking about these projects and start delivering on them.”
Fougere said he will announce more platform details in the coming weeks, including a GrowYQR campaign to attract new businesses, initiatives on making the city safer, mental health and caring for the most vulnerable.
There are four other candidates running for mayor are Jim Elliott, Tony Fiacco, Mitchell Howse and George Wooldridge.
The Regina municipal election is scheduled for Nov. 9.