Preliminary city budget proposes 3.51% property tax hike
The City today released the 2022/2023 Preliminary Multi-Year Business Plan and Budget. The Administration’s budget for the next two years is focused on maintaining core civic services and programs, preserving current service levels, and investing in infrastructure to support a good quality of life in our growing and inclusive city.
“With the financial impact of COVID-19 continuing to create a challenging economic climate, the Administration has presented a preliminary budget that maintains appropriate funding for quality civic services, service levels, and programs that deliver value for citizens,” says Clae Hack, Chief Financial Officer. ”While the pandemic has highlighted the City’s operating revenue challenges, we’ve worked hard to present a preliminary budget that is disciplined and committed to keeping property taxes as low as possible.”
City Council will debate, adjust and finalize its investment decisions within the 2022/2023 Business Plan and Budget on November 29, 30 and December 1, 2021.
The 2022/2023 Operating Budget proposes a municipal property tax increase of 3.51% and 3.14% in 2022 and 2023, respectively.
The proposed property tax increases would generate an additional $9.3 million in 2022 and $8.8 million in 2023.
In general terms, this means a homeowner who owns a single-family detached home with an average assessed value of $344,000 would have a municipal property tax increase of $67.29 in 2022 or $5.61 per month, and $62.33 in 2023 or $5.19 per month.
“The Administration’s proposed property tax rates for 2022 and 2023 maintain the service levels citizens expect for their taxpayer dollars and ensure long-term financial stability for the City. City Council will make the final investment decisions for the next two years,” adds Hack.
The 2022/2023 Preliminary Budget is built from a four-step process whereby this year:
In June 2021, costs were determined to maintain current service delivery and service levels at status quo for the next two years; the original indicative property tax estimate presented in June 2021 required a property tax increase of 5.96% and 5.42% in 2022 and 2023 respectively.
In August 2021, City Council then directed Administration to bring back options to reduce the initial proposed property tax estimate and information on the longer-term structural budget challenges facing the City, its stagnant revenue growth and increased reliance on property taxes.
In October 2021, Administration provided various options and plans to support the City’s new 2022-2025 Strategic Plan’s goals. These options will be presented at the Business Plan and Budget Review meeting on November 29, 2021.
To achieve the lower proposed tax increases, adjustments were made to remove the phase-in for the Bus Rapid Transit project and adjustments related to the implementation of the waste utility funding model resulting in proposed property tax increases of 3.51% and 3.14% in 2022 and 2023 respectively.
“City Council has directed the Administration to prioritize several areas over the next four years,” says Hack. “At budget review time, some of Council’s priorities may be achieved without financial impact, however, some initiatives will require financial investment such as efforts to support community safety, Bus Rapid Transit, and support for reconciliation and inclusion spaces.”
The 2022 Operating Budget is proposing total operating expenditures of $566.0 million, an investment increase of $19.3 million, or 3.54%, over the 2021 Operating Budget.
The 2023 Operating Budget is proposing total operating expenditures of $581.3 million, an investment increase of $15.3 million, or 2.70%, over the 2022 Operating Budget.
To address inflation and growth pressures, the total expenditure increase within the Business Plan and Budget is $13.0 million in 2022 and $10.0 million in 2023 (excluding Police).
With a commitment to improving community safety in Saskatoon, investment in the Saskatoon Police Service represents the largest portion of the City’s operating expenditures at approximately 21%, or $119.7 million in 2022 and $124.6 million in 2023.
The 2022/2023 Preliminary Capital Budget proposes a total investment of $571.9 million, including $274.4 million in 2022 and $297.5 million in 2023.
The City’s capital budget provides for infrastructure to address Saskatoon’s continued growth and invests in roads, transit, water, and wastewater distribution systems.
Notable Key Capital Projects Include:
Roadway Preservation: $32.0 million and $33.0 million in 2022 and 2023
Bus Rapid Transit system: $10.5 million and $46.3 million in 2022 and 2023
Land Development: $51.5 million and $46.9 million in 2022 and 2023
Utility Infrastructure maintenance and improvements: $107.1 million and $108.3 million in 2022 and 2023
The 2022/2023 Preliminary Budget funding supports clear and achievable actions to support the vision and goals within the City’s draft 2022-2025 Strategic Plan expected to be approved by City Council in January 2022.
Importantly, public input gained on civic service priorities and preferences received through the City’s two 2021 Citizen Services Surveys as well as feedback on the draft 2022-2025 Strategic Plan, will be considered by City Council before its final budget review.
SINGLE SOURCE, VERBATIM, FILE PHOTO