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Regina city council approves 2022 budget featuring 3.4% mill rate increase

Click to play video: 'Regina city council approves 2022 budget'
Regina city council approves 2022 budget
WATCH: Regina city council approved the city's 2022 budget on Friday afternoon after three days of deliberations and debates at city hall. – Dec 18, 2021

How much will taxes be next year for citizens of Regina?

Those questions are now answered after Regina city council gave the stamp of approval for the city’s 2022 budget late Friday afternoon.

Council voted 8-3 to approve the budget. Landon Mohl (Ward 10), Lori Bresciani (Ward 4) and Terina Shaw (Ward 7) were the councillors who voted against the budget as presented for approval.

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There are some changes compared to city administration’s proposed budget from late November, including a reduction in the mill rate increase.

City administration had recommended a 3.49 per cent property tax hike prior to budget deliberations. However, council was able to reduce it to 3.40 on Friday.

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The reduction was a result of $243,000 in leftover funds from the Regina Police Service’s capital budget, which was approved on Wednesday by city council. Police chief Evan Bray said Wednesday that this was possible thanks to funding secured for their aerial support unit and the purchase of an airplane for the aerial team.

“They ended up getting funding to close off the balance of the plane, so with the funding from SGI and the government, it was reduced by almost a quarter of a million dollars regarding the capital contribution carry-forward. So we were able to apply it to the mill rate,” explained Mayor Sandra Masters in Friday’s post-budget media availability.

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The approved mill rate means the average homeowner with an assessed home value of $315,000 will pay about $6.15 more per month or just under $75 more per year.

The mill rate will be distributed to four areas, including Regina Police, civic operations, the city’s Recreation Infrastructure Program and the last year of the Mosaic Stadium dedicated rate.

2022 General Operating BudgetMill Rate Increase (%)
Civic Operations1.13
Mosaic Stadium dedicated mill rate (year 10 of 10)0.45
Recreation Infrastructure Program dedicated mill rate (year 3 of 5)0.50
Subtotal2.08
Regina Police Service1.32
Total Mill Rate Increase3.40
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The city said on Friday that this budget will allow them to invest in strategic initiatives, including:
• $6.9 million for the Recreation/Culture Capital Program and Recreation Infrastructure Program;
• $6.3 million to advance initiatives to support the city’s target of being renewable by 2050, including $5.5 million for the development of a household food and yard waste program;
• $1.4 million for initiatives that will enhance community safety and well-being for Regina residents;
• $1.2 million to create safer sidewalks by addressing a backlog in sidewalk maintenance; and
• $1 million to make recreation and leisure activities more accessible for people with disabilities.

“When we hear from citizens (about priorities), it’s roads, it’s safety and it’s dealing with the severity of crime in our community as well as the severity of vulnerable and marginalized people, along with recreation,” Masters said.

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As for the the municipality’s capital fund, $136 million will be allocated towards infrastructure maintenance and renewal of roads, bridges, sidewalks and city-owned and operated facilities.

Those projects include:

• $18.2 million for the Street Infrastructure Renewal Program;
• $12 million for the Residential Roads Renewal Program;
• $10 million for Saskatchewan Drive corridor improvements;
• $10 million for the Pinkie Road upgrade (Sherwood Drive to Dewdney Avenue); and
• $5 million for bridge infrastructure renewal.

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Council also approved its the 2022 utility fund budget which will see a five per cent increase, resulting in $7.25 more per month for the average homeowner or an additional $87 per year.

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Two per cent of the five per cent will be dedicated to accelerating the replacement of lead pipe connections throughout Regina, while three per cent will go to fund operations, maintenance and the long-term utility capital plan.

An investment of $119 million will be directed to capital work related to Regina’s water utility, which the city said operates on a full cost-recovery basis. This involves $42 million for the Eastern Pressure Solution to improve water pressure throughout Regina and $10 million to replace and upgrade water meters throughout the city.

In terms of community safety and well-being, there are investments of $104 million for the Regina Police Service, $46 million to Regina Fire and Protective Services, $875,000 for the implementation of the city’s community safety and well-being plan and $500,000 towards harm reduction funding through the community investments program.

More than $50 million will be to improve and enhance road infrastructure, including:

  • $18 million for street infrastructure renewal;
  • $12 million for residential road renewal;
  • $10 million for the Saskatchewan Drive corridor;
  • $10 million for Pinkie Road upgrades from Sherwood Drive to Dewdney Avenue; and
  • $5 million for bridge renewals.

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Community investment grants of $15 million will support economic development, culture, sport, recreation and social development programs. There’s also $7 million for capital and infrastructure programs geared towards recreation and culture.

Parks, playgrounds, recreation equipment and athletic fields will receive $1.1 million, while $450,000 will help initiate Regina’s Winter City Strategy.

Reflecting on a hectic yet successful three days in the council chambers, Masters said there are some lessons learned regarding how council can be more efficient when it comes to future budget discussions.

“We should have a pre-budget meeting just about the five-year capital plan because there’s always things that move,” she suggested. “We know with the supply change issues and inflation, there is always going to be some infrastructure costs that will go up.”

More information about the 2022 Regina budget can be found on the city’s website.

Click to play video: 'Regina Police Service receives approval from city council for its 2022 budget'
Regina Police Service receives approval from city council for its 2022 budget

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