If one Regina councillor has it his way, property tax bills will be more detailed in the future.
Mike O’Donnell wants bills to have more detailed information than they currently contain. At the Jan. 30 council meeting, O’Donnell gave notice of two motions he intends to raise at the upcoming special budget meeting.
Beginning with the budget this year, he would like to see homeowners receive two bills. One would break down the municipal and library portion of taxes while the other would state the education portion of property taxes, clearly stating the city merely collects the money before it is distributed back to the Regina Public Schools and Regina Catholic School Division.
O’Donnell also wants homeowners to get a single page information sheet with a more in-depth breakdown of where taxes go, by stating the dollar amount for the city’s largest services.
“I want to make sure that we not only indicate what people are paying using the average city home in what you pay for police, fire, parks, etc., but also that your education portion, in fact, will be going to the province,” he said.
The reason for bringing up the potential changes now is simple.
“Make sure that people understand how much they’re paying and where it goes,” O’Donnell said.
He added that it can be a little frustrating when discussing taxes with residents, as many tend to express their concerns with how much they pay, quoting the overall, final number on their bill without first deducting the library and education portion, which the city is not responsible for.
He believes other cities in Saskatchewan like Saskatoon and Swift Current separate their billing. O’Donnell said he’s also found what he called a very interesting document to show where tax dollars go for those living in Maple Ridge, B.C. He’s said he’s shared that document with city administration.
The optimism is there for the Ward 8 councillor.
“I think there is some other councillors who feel the same way that I do so I’m looking for the discussion and whether or not we can pull it off shall we say this tax term or whether we’ll have to do it for 2018.”
The special budget meeting is scheduled for Feb. 13.