City of Saskatoon proposes 3.51% property tax increase in 2022

The Saskatoon Department of Finance recommends that property taxes increase by more than 3.5% next year to maintain municipal services.

On Wednesday, the city released its preliminary budget for 2022 and 2023 before city council deliberations begin next week.

“I think the administration has really focused on maintaining services while continuing to deal with the implications of COVID-19,” said city finance director Clae Hack.

“We believe the proposed property tax and budget is the lowest we can achieve without affecting service levels.”

If approved by council, the 3.51% increase in 2022 would mean that a homeowner with a home worth $ 344,000 would pay $ 67.29 more next year, or 5.61 $ more per month.

By 2023, the proposed 3.14% increase would mean the same owner would pay $ 62.33 more per year, or $ 5.19 more per month.

In total, the tax hike will bring in an additional $ 9.3 million in 2022 and $ 8.8 million in 2023.

In 2021, the city saw its taxes increase by 2.83%.

The city expects COVID-19-related spending to cost $ 13.85 million next year and $ 10.02 million in 2023. That number includes $ 5.49 million in lost revenue for Saskatoon Transit next year, as well as $ 948,300 less in parking revenue. The city expects to pay these costs through the Infrastructure Canada Program Reallocation Pool.

Hack said it is difficult to keep a balanced budget because user fees for recreation centers and grants from the provincial and federal governments do not keep up with inflation, which means property taxes absorb a higher percentage. significant tax burden.

The Council decided on certain cost saving measures before the completion of the preliminary budget. Phased funding for the next bus rapid transit system has been postponed until 2024, and a decision has also been made to move the next curbside recycling program to a fixed monthly rate in 2023 and remove it from property taxes. .

Before these changes, the administration had estimated that taxes would increase by 5.96% in 2022 and 5.42 in 2023.

The Saskatoon Police Department will be the city’s costliest service at $ 119 million, followed by $ 90 million for transportation and $ 55 million for the fire department.

Staff salaries currently represent 59 percent of the city’s budget. The city said it is bound by a number of collective agreements with its unions and that it is required to meet those obligations.

Major spending items for next year include $ 32 million for road preservation, $ 52 million for land use planning and $ 107 million for maintenance of utility infrastructure.

The city council will begin deliberations on the budget on Monday.

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