In an effort to minimize potential tax hike, Saskatoon city councillors send administration back to the drawing board
SASKATOON -- City councillors have asked administration to take another crack at its preliminary two-year budget figures, which included suggested property tax increases of 5.96 per cent in 2022 and 5.42 percent 2023.
The proposed increases were included in a report intended to get the ball rolling before budget deliberations begin this fall.
During a meeting of the city's governance and priories committee on Monday, councillors requested putting off setting the suggested indicative tax rate, which is a non-binding starting point for crafting the city's budget.
Instead, councillors requested administration to "undertake a deeper review" of the proposed numbers, according to a City of Saskatoon news release.
"The purpose of the review will be to further explore options to address the property tax pressure residents and businesses face in this unprecedented year, and to recognize the funds required to maintain quality services and address strategic priorities of City Council," the release said.
The committee also asked administration to report back on the possibility of funding the planned city-wide organic waste program by billing residents under a utility model instead of covering the cost directly from property taxes.
RATES WERE 'STATUS QUO'
In its news release, the city said the proposed indicative rates it presented were for a "status quo" budget where all services are maintained at present levels.The head of the Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce was critical of the initially proposed rates.
"Saskatoon’s economic recovery will be a business-led recovery,” said chamber CEO Jason Aebig, CEO of the Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce.
"Our businesses are eager to recover however every new dollar in taxes will weaken their capacity to create the jobs, products and economic activity needed to fuel that recovery," Aebi said in a news release issued ahead of Monday's committee meeting.
The move to delay setting the indicative rate came the same day the Riversdale Business Improvement District claimed some businesses may not survive unexpectedly high tax bills that have come in the wake of property reassessment.