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Roads dominate day one of budget talks
On Day one of budget deliberations, Saskatoon city councillors didn’t come up with any extra money, beyond the one per cent dedicated road tax already in the proposed budget.
Published Wednesday, December 5, 2012 11:20AM CST
Last Updated Wednesday, December 5, 2012 11:38AM CST
The biggest issue in the last municipal election may have been the condition of roads in Saskatoon.
But in day one of budget deliberations, Saskatoon city councillors didn’t come up with any extra money, beyond the one per cent dedicated road tax already in the proposed budget.
“It did surprise me,” said Troy Davies, a newly elected councillor. “Roads, especially for me with EMS, are the main priority.”
However, councillors with several terms on council said it was also important to appprove the city’s list of 425 million dollars in capital projects.
“I’m not in favor of pulling out of (capital projects) in order to put into roads,” said councillor Darren Hill. “Absolutely not.”
Council is considering an operating budget of 386.5 million dollars. It includes a tax hike of 5.17 per cent. Various councillors have said they want to try to lower the tax hike, but so far in budget discussions little has changed.
However, many remain confident they will find savings and extra money for roads.
“We heard loudly and clearly that the roads are in terrible shape,” said councillor Pat Lorje. “We can’t waste any more time, we have to get going on that.”
On snow removal, councillor Ann Iwanchuk has proposed doing one clearing per winter of residential streets, something the city does not do now. It would mean a tax increase of about 0.4 per cent.
But there is debate whether its worth it.
"Snow comes and snow goes and Saskatoon people can cope pretty well,” said Lorje.
Budget discussions at city hall continue Wednesday afternoon.