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Council approves 2018 Budget

Wed Feb 28 10:07:33 CST 2018

Regina City Council has approved the General Fund 2018 Operating Budget and the
2018-2022 Capital Program with a 3.34 per cent mill rate increase plus the
continuing 1 per cent mill rate dedicated to renew residential roads.

The overall impact on the Regina homeowner with an assessed home value of
$350,000 is $6.88 per month more for the municipal portion of property taxes.

“The 2018 Budget finds the right balance between affordability for property owners,
delivering reliable services to Regina residents, increasing investment in key
priorities like community safety and infrastructure, and operating efficiently,” Mayor
Michael Fougere said. “Administration is to be commended for finding more than
$9 million in operating efficiencies over the last 12 months and for its excellent
financial management.”

The mill rate was reduced from the proposed 4.86 per cent increase by using
$969,000 of the projected 2017 operating surplus to fund one-time expenses in
2018. Examples include financial support for major community events taking place
this year, namely the Tim Horton’s Brier, the Master Card Memorial Cup and the
Canadian Pacific LGPA Women’s Open. This accounts for $500,000 of the total.
Other examples include costs associated with the Job Evaluation Partnership with
CUPE, the Work Ready injury-prevention program and the Heritage Conversation
Program review, among others.

The provincial government’s recent announcement to eliminate the PST exemption
on health and life insurance premiums results in an estimated $200,000 reduction in
costs for the employer-paid portion of these benefits in 2018. This savings was also
used to reduce the mill rate increase.

“I am pleased with the 2018 Budget which recognizes that Regina, like other
municipalities, must account for the financial impact of the 2017-2018 Provincial
Budget,” said City Manager Chris Holden.

Regina, he said, has the second highest population growth in the county, second
only to Saskatoon and is good news for us and for Saskatchewan.

“Our economy is also growing and the future outlook is positive,” said Holden, noting
investing in community safety remains a priority, with $4.3 million more for Regina’s
police service and fire department.

In addition, $132 million will be spent on infrastructure renewal, maintenance and
new construction in 2018; approximately 25 per cent of that is being invested into
Regina’s road network.

The 2018 Budget completes the two-year enhancement to Regina’s transit system,
which will see an investment of $17.2 million to improve accessibility, modernize bus
shelters, replace older buses and purchase additional buses to expand the fleet.

This investment is cost-shared 50 per cent with the federal government. This year, a
new Arcola Express route will be added.

The City will not be incurring any new debt to fund infrastructure in 2018. It will be
funded through a combination of funds from the 2018 Operating Budget, reserves,
third-party funding primarily from cost-shared federal government infrastructure
programs and other revenue like developer and service agreement fees.