Saskatoon approves budget adjustments to affordable housing, SPCA, gas, diesel costs

The 2023 Budget was created in 2021, however, due to inflation, the city has continued to incur higher costs for fuel, natural gas, materials, supplies and labour. . File / Global News

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the range of property tax increase. City council settled on 3.93 per cent.

Nov. 29 marks the second day of Saskatoon city council budget meetings.

On Monday, information was presented on the subjects of property taxes, the Affordable Housing Revenue and the Saskatoon Police Service with the intent to adjust the budget for these areas.

The 2023 Business Plan and Budget was created in 2021 and was based on estimates of expenditures and revenue at the time, including revenue lost from the impact of COVID-19.

However, due to inflation, the city has continued to incur higher costs for fuel, natural gas, materials, supplies and labour.

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“This year has brought forward significant challenges for the individuals, businesses and the City in terms of unforeseen inflationary pressures which we expect to persist into 2023,” said Clae Hack, chief financial Officer.

“These pressures, coupled with an already ambitious City budget target, require consideration for adjustments to ensure our service levels and resources are aligned. As such, the Administration is proposing several adjustments to the preliminary approved 2023 budget to ensure the City’s service levels are maintained and resourced properly.”

The proposed budget adjustments to the 2023 operating budget will provide more than $10.04 million in additional resources to combat rising inflation costs and increase property taxes to 3.93 per cent.

Click to play video: 'Saskatoon police look for additional funding amid city budget talks'
Saskatoon police look for additional funding amid city budget talks

On Monday, city council discussed a new mill rate increase of $100,000 and a capital contribution of $300, 000 to the affordable housing reserve.

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On Tuesday, city council approved this recommendation from administration and will move forward with the budget adjustments.

City council also approved a budget adjustment of a one-time contribution of $95,000 to SPCA pound services to assist the transfer of animals from the pound to shelter services.

Randy Donauer motioned to reduce the assumption on gas and diesel costs by 10 cents per litre, which would result in approximately $700,000 in savings.

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“Gasoline and diesel is a very volatile market right now so it is difficult to say, with certainty, the exact amount of risk it will bring in,” said Hack.

“But if we experience similar volatility next year, we would be pretty close to what we experienced, with a 10-per cent reduction.”

The previous assumption for 2023 was $1.23 per litre for gas and $1.29 per litre for diesel.

More than $4.1 million in fuel expenditures highlights the city’s total expenditure change of more than $10 million.

The city’s current deficit sits at $1.0342 million.

The vote on Donauer’s motion carried unanimously.

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with files from Easton Hamm.

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