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Saskatoon city council raises property taxes 6.04% for next year, highest increase in 10 years

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Saskatoon property taxes are going up 6.04 per cent next year, after an unprecedented length for budget discussions.

Under the new rate, the average homeowner would pay about $10.47 more a month — based on a property value of $344,000.

In 2025, property taxes are set to increase 5.64 per cent or $10.37 more a month.

These are the highest tax increases since 2014. At that time, property taxes increased 7.43 per cent.

The budget passed in a 7-4 vote.

Coun. Darren Hill, Troy Davies, Bev Dubois and Randy Donauer voted against the budget.

"I'm disappointed in the budget. I was hoping that it would be four per cent or less," Dubois told reporters after the vote.

Dubois said she's concerned about residents' bottom line, especially with the new black cart utility.

“The taxpayer has a lot of extra costs coming up in the new year," Dubois said.

The finalized property tax rate is a result of the city's spending choices.

Councillors reduced the 2024-2025 $75 million revenue gap by $39 million.

The gap was announced in the summer and largely blamed on inflation.

"When I go into budget, for me, it's not just an exercise in how low can we cut," Mayor Charlie Clark told the chamber.

Clark said the budget decisions are about ensuring Saskatoon is an "attractive, competitive, vibrant city that people want to live in."

Saskatoon city councillors set a record for the longest budget meetings. Budget deliberations have never gone longer than three days, according to a city spokesperson.

After four days of searching for savings, in the final hours, councillors decided to put 13 spending ideas on the table.

The majority of the ideas were approved, including spending $105,000 to increase riverbank washroom checks, $482,600 for a transit support worker program and $113,400 for an Indigenous public engagement consultant.

Councillors call for changes to budget process

"Our budget processes is severely flawed," Hill said, before voting against the budget.

Davies agreed the process is flawed. He kept a tally of his efforts to claw back the budget. Davies said he made 92 votes to reduce the budget and was only successful on 29 of those.

Coun. Hilary Gough called the budget deliberations "a bit painful" but also "extremely informative."

Coun. Mairin Loewen suggested taking lessons from "the most difficult budget of my time on council ... and build that into a better process for 2025." 

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