Saskatoon City Council hears requests for $5M in COVID-19 relief
SASKATOON -- City Council is facing requests for relief from organizations hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Monday, council heard from the Saskatoon Airport Authority, Tourism Saskatoon, Broadway Business Improvement District and the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. All were asking for various forms of relief from City Hall.
A report from city administration says several individual businesses, business associations and organizations are seeking financial support.
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“The requests total an estimated $5 million, if those received to date were all granted,” the report reads.
The largest request is from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. In a letter it asks that industrial and commercial property taxes be frozen at 2019 levels.’
Administration estimates it would result in $3.8 million in lost property tax revenue for 2020.
“To support this request, the City would have to reduce expenditures or maintain them and shift the tax burden to residential properties,” the report says.
Tourism Saskatoon requested a one-time investment of $145,000 to help with marketing.
President and CEO Todd Brandt says the tourism industry is one of the most affected because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Broadway Business Improvement District (BBID) wanted Council to change the policy for outdoor patios to allow more space for social distancing and to provide relief for businesses.
“The BBID would like to further propose allowing for all food, beverage and retail businesses to be able to use the parking space in front of their store front to extend their business footprint,” reads a letter to council from the BBID.
City Council voted to allow two more discretionary parking spaces per block face for parking patios subject to a review from city administration.
Parking patios can also stay up through the fall and winter.