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2020/2021 Multi-Year Business Plan and Budget Property Tax Options

For immediate release: July 24, 2019 - 4:16pm
CF19-576

The Governance & Priorities Committee (GPC), at its June 17, 2019 meeting, resolved that the Administration bring back options for a municipal property tax target of less than the 3.94% for 2020 and 4.17% for 2021. The property tax targets presented at the June meeting would maintain existing services, correct the Waste Service budget shortfall, and begin the funding phase-in for a city-wide organics program.

The City’s Administration is proposing several options to reduce the municipal property tax targets for 2020 and 2021, based on:

  • the ability to implement;
  • having a positive impact on the mill rate; and
  • not having a significant long term negative impact to service levels.

“At the July 29 City Council meeting, the Administration will present a number of options to help reduce the property tax in 2020 and 2021. These options will include opportunities to phase-in funding over a longer period, defer certain initiatives or take on slightly increased risk within the budget,” says Jeff Jorgenson, City Manager. “Setting these early property tax targets gives City Council an opportunity to start to plan for the priorities it wants to invest in at our first Multi-Year Business Plan and Budget Deliberation this November.”

City Council will be presented with nine options to consider, each aimed at reducing the property tax target increases earlier directed by GPC.

It is important to note that there have been some changes to the Administration’s original assumptions, including new SaskPower electricity rate information which negatively impacts taxes, which is partially offset by a lower budget estimate from the Saskatoon Police Service.  The net result of these changes is a negative impact of $455,600 to the City’s previously presented forecast equivalent to a 0.19% property tax increase.  However, as the Administration continues to work through finalizing the 2020/ 2021 Business Plan and Budget, every effort will be made to offset this impact.

“There will likely be other minor adjustments to the property tax estimates for 2020 and 2021 as more information becomes available, for example, as the Boards of the City’s Controlled Corporations and the Board of Police Commissioners finalize their budgets, and as more becomes known about federal pollution rebates,” adds Jorgenson. “The Administration will release its preliminary Multi-Year Budget in October 2019.”

Administration is recommending the following options to City Council, which provide a starting point for consideration: 

  • Option 2 – implement a subsidized fee for civic services associated with special events;
  • Option 4 – utilize Multi-Material Stewardship Western funding towards the Waste deficit;
  • Option 6 – phase-in the Remai Civic Buildings Comprehensive Maintenance Reserve requirement over a longer period;
  • Option 7 – defer the Recovery Park funding phase-in until 2023; and
  • Option 8 – adjust the Major Transportation Funding/Bus Rapid Transit funding plan.

The Multi-Year Business Plan and Budget will provide greater certainty for residents about the future direction of property taxes, better alignment of the City’s longer-term goals, and improved financial stability, transparency and accountability.

City Council will set the final budget and associated municipal property tax rate through the 2020/2021 Multi-Year Business Plan and Budget Deliberations at the end of November 2019.

For more information on the City’s multi-year budget, visit saskatoon.ca/budget.