Canada/The City of Saskatoon wants to raise property taxes and allocate more money to the police
In Saskatoon, City Council began deliberating on the 2024-2025 budget, which includes property tax increases for the next two years.
The City of Saskatoon's Director of Finance, Clae Hack, is recommending property tax increases of 7.22% in 2024 and 5.58% in 2025.
These rates are very similar to what the City proposed in last week's preliminary budget: a property tax increase of 7.14% in 2024 and 5.7% in 2025.
Saskatoon residents could therefore expect an increase of over $12 per month in 2024, and just over $10 in 2025, for the average household.
According to Clae Hack, Saskatoon is not the only city where property tax increases are on the horizon.
Some municipalities have taken a similar approach to having an open and transparent discussion about the pressures facing the city," he explains.
Representatives from associations, the hotel industry and environmental groups were on hand to hear the city council's arguments. They also took the opportunity to present their demands and voice their concerns about the property tax increase.
Keith Moen, spokesperson for the North Saskatoon Business Association (NSBA), stated that this is not the right time to increase property taxes, given the current inflationary climate.
More money for police service
The Saskatoon Police Service budget was also approved on Tuesday. The Police Service expects spending to increase to $134 million in 2024 and $141 million in 2025. Forecast revenues for both years are under $13 million.
By way of comparison, the previous budget forecast $124 million in expenses for 2023, with revenues of around $12 million.
The increase in spending planned for the next two years by the Saskatoon Police Service is said to be linked to the increase in the number of overdoses and the rise in drug sales in the city.
Shane Partridge, vice-president of the Pleasant Hill Community Association, has also asked the Saskatoon Police Service to hire two alternative intervention officers.
He would like to see their work emphasized in communities with disproportionately high crime rates. He would like these officers to help prevent crime.
The budget also includes major investments in road maintenance, amounting to $150 million over the next two years. Snow removal services, however, are not included in these investments.
City Council will continue to meet until Thursday to discuss the 2024-2025 budget, and at the end of these meetings, the budget is expected to be approved.