City Council approves budget
On Wednesday night, Saskatoon City Council concluded its budget review and discussions to approve the 2022/2023 Multi-Year Business Plan and Budget.
Council approved property tax increases of 3.86% and 3.53% for 2022 and 2023, respectively. In general terms, a homeowner with a single-family detached home with an average assessed value of $344,000 would have a municipal property tax increase of $6.17 per month or $74.04 per year in 2022, and $5.87 per month or $70.43 per year in 2023.
“This was one of the toughest budgets we have faced given the pressures of COVID and some of the issues we need to tackle to ensure the well-being of our residents today and into the future," said Mayor Clark. "This budget keeps our tax rate lower than the average over the last ten years while making key investments to support our recovery and ensure we will be a competitive and resilient city in a changing world. We are proud to still have one of the most competitive commercial property tax levies as reinforced by C.D. Howe last year.”
Notable Capital Investments Include:
$33.9 million in 2022 and $24.7 million in 2023 for upgrades and maintenance to the Wastewater Treatment Plant.
$41.2 million in 2022 and $52.0 million in 2023 for upgrades and maintenance to the Water Treatment Plant.
$32.0 million in 2022 and $33.0 million in 2023 for paved roadway and sidewalk preservation.
$10.5 million in 2022 and $46.3 million in 2023 for the implementation of a Bus Rapid Transit system (contingent on other government funding).
$2.64 million in 2022 for Transit and Access Transit Bus Replacement.
Other operating and capital investment decisions over 2022 and 2023 support our growing and increasingly diverse city and include such items as:
new transit service to North Kensington and Aspen Ridge,
continued maintenance of roadways and pathways including snow grading on freeways and priority streets,
the maintenance of the City’s growing network of parks and open green spaces including pathways, and berms,
public engagement enhancement,
Reconciliation, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion programs and initiatives – including the Office of the Representative of the Matriarchs and IWG2S Women’s Centre,
an increase to the urban forestry and pest management capital reserve,
climate adaptation and green infrastructure advancement, and
recreation and sport facilities grants.
“City Council adjusted and debated to arrive at a budget that continues to support the key civic services citizens expect, and balances addressing strategic priorities for the City,” says Jeff Jorgenson, City Manager.
“The Administration will now work hard to execute the direction of City Council and deliver the quality services and programs to the public we proudly serve,” Jorgenson adds. “There are ambitious cost-saving and service improvement expectations included in this budget, and we will do everything in our power to meet or exceed those expectations as our community recovers from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. This multi-year budget takes us forward having set a new standard for transparency.”
Weighing decisions against the vision of the 2022-2025 Strategic Plan, the finalized 2022 and 2023 budgets support continued financial recovery for the City, promote growth for the community, and maintain quality of life and the needed momentum to keep the City moving forward sustainably.
Investing in Public Safety and Protection
City Council approved the Saskatoon Police Service budget which included resources to address the growth of the City and increase in calls for service with the addition of eight new Patrol Constables in 2022 and four Patrol Constables in 2023.
In addition, six positions were approved for 2022 to address items such as Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy requests (FOIP), technological crimes, Audio Video (AV) disclosures, investigations and major crimes were also included in the approved budget. The 2023 budget also includes four additional positions to address FOIP, AV disclosures, and investigations.
For the Saskatoon Fire Department, City Council invested $2.3 million in Next Generation 9-1-1 technology to enhance its Communications Centre. Council made further investments to replace major apparatus within the fleet, equipment, small vehicles, and uniform purchases, with $4.4 million over 2022 and 2023. Additional positions for firefighters were approved to support better response times for Saskatoon’s growing neighbourhoods, and for Fire Bylaw Inspectors as a proactive approach to property maintenance inspections.
SINGLE SOURCE, NEAR VERBATIM, FILE PHOTO