Digestible Budget Nuggets! They’re Easy To Digest!

Council met last night for a special, marathon meeting on the 2016 city budgets. Here are all my tweets so you can live every minute of a six hour council session.

But since you’ve probably got better stuff to do with your day, I’ll spoil the highlights: Council was able to reduce the proposed 3.9% property tax increase to 3.3%. And they dropped the proposed utility rate increase from 6% to 5%.

You can follow all my live-tweeting of city stuff at @PDCityHall.

There will be a summary of the council meeting in the next issue of Prairie Dog (out Thursday). And I think it’s a safe bet that we’ll be discussing the budget on Thursday’s Queen City Improvement Bureau — that’s the radio show I do with Aidan Morgan every Thursday evening at 7pm on 91.3 CJTR (episode archive here).

Author: Paul Dechene

Paul Dechene is 5'10'' tall and he was born in a place. He's not there now. He's sitting in front of his computer writing his bio for this blog. He has a song stuck in his head. It's "Girl From Ipanema", thanks for asking. You can follow Paul on Twitter at @pauldechene and get live updates during city council meetings and other city events at @PDcityhall.

5 thoughts on “Digestible Budget Nuggets! They’re Easy To Digest!”

  1. So the cops cost us 20%.. 10 home SKRr games ,with 6 RPS officers & security service; costs us how much ,for the season ?

    Paranoia doesn’t come cheap.

  2. Paul, typically how does the city justify these increases in mill rates year after year without any resident of the city seeing any discernable improvement in services or infrastructre?

  3. Moon Daddy: My mal-informed opinion is that the city has to keep its mill rate hikes at or just above inflation (the Municipal Price Index for cities) just to keep the level of service we have and to prevent everything from flying apart at the seams.

    I have an Edmonton MPI report on my desktop and it has the MPI averaging 2.42% between 2009 and 2015. (I don’t have the wherewithal right now to hunt down Regina’s numbers. Sorry. So, for the sake of argument, I’m just going to use the Edmonton numbers.)

    Over that same period, Regina’s property tax increases have averaged 3.73%. So we’re a solid point-and-a-bit above inflation.

    However, that period (2009 to 2015) doesn’t include all the years where city hall (under Fiacco) opted to not raise the mill rate at all (2004 and 2006). It also doesn’t include 2003 (another Fiacco year) where the mill rate only went up 1.1%.

    So, maybe we’re playing catch up on some of those years where Fiacco basically forced the city to make service cuts by keeping the mill rate well below inflation?

    Worth noting that Hawkins said last night that this year’s mill rate increase was less than Regina’s projected inflation for 2016. I don’t know if he’s right on that. But if he is, then we’ve just built a little secret shortfall into the budget.

    Beyond that, I fall into the camp that says that growth doesn’t pay for growth. (Or, rather, sprawl doesn’t pay for sprawl.) And so, as long as we keep saying YES! to greenfield development we’re always going to be scrambling to pay for infrastructure maintenance and the mill rate will always have to creep up to cover the stealth deficit previous councils have left us.

    That problem with the cost of growth will, supposedly, be addressed with the city’s new development levies (to be considered at another special council meeting this coming Monday).

    My guess is that once again, our new levies won’t be anywhere high enough to build, maintain and replace the new infrastructure Coopertown and other burbs are going to add to the city.

    I guess we’ll see on Monday. Maybe I shouldn’t be such a downer on a report I haven’t read yet. But I can’t help myself. Pessimism is my operating system.

    Shit. I should put that on a t-shirt.

  4. I just realized you asked how does the city justify these mill rate increases and I went and justified them myself.

    Actually, council does say a lot of the things I typed above — but without laying so much of the blame at Fiacco’s feet.

    They also like to talk a lot about how regressive property taxes are and how inadequate the funds are that they’re getting from the provincial and federal gov’ts.

    And downloading. They’re hella pissed about downloading.

  5. You kind of touched on points my father and I argued (he, for inflation, I for suburban sprawl), so thank you for your thoughtful post.

    What about downloading? As in digital downloading?

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