The City of Regina has released its proposed budgets for 2016, which include a tax hike of 2.9 per cent, with an additional one per cent dedicated to improving residential streets.
The city explains that the increase would enable the city to maintain services, improve infrastructure and keep utilities affordable.
The budget is also looking for a six per cent hike on water rates.
On a yearly basis, the hike totals approximately $200 more a year toward city services, including roads, with $100 representing the jump in utilities.
- $24.1 million for street, sidewalk and bridge renewal
- $9.1 million for winter road maintenance
- funding for eight new constables for the Regina Police Service
- $5.7 million for recreation facilities, playgrounds and parks
Acting city manager Ed Archer believes the increases are affordable and argues the money goes toward services that impact people.
“There are improvements in our road infrastructure. There will be some playground enhancement, tennis court rehabilitation and improved coverage from our police service through the addition of front line officers.”
The proposed budget is subject to council approval and can be changed, which is why Mayor Michael Fougere is already hinting at a reduction.
“I am always mindful, as councils always is, at taxpayers ability to pay,” he said.”Two-point-nine per cent is significant and I personally may look at ways to reduce that.”
Last year, property taxes went up 4.3 per cent, tacking on another $100 to the average bill. Utility rates went up eight per cent which added on another $126. In 2013, the original proposal was for a seven per cent tax hike, but the public spoke out and got that number reduced to 5.88 per cent.
Over the last five years, the average property tax increase has been 4.5 per cent.
The proposed budget is subject to council approval on Dec. 7.