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2019 Budget invests in delivery of core services and infrastructure for the future

For immediate release: November 28, 2018 - 4:58pm
AF18-114

Following two days of questions, adjustments and debate on the 2019 Preliminary Business Plan and Budget, His Worship Mayor Charlie Clark and City Council have finalized their investment decisions for 2019, arriving at a property tax increase of 4.40%.

“The finalized budget reflects investments Council has made for the future and for their strategic priority areas,” says Kerry Tarasoff, CFO and General Manager, Asset and Financial Management.  “City Council has supported initiatives that are important to our community, and maintained or increased service levels in core services citizens have told us they want.”

What the 4.40% property tax increase means to residential property owners
The 2019 property tax increase of 4.40% is a result of a 3.16% increase required to maintain civic services, and a 1.24% increase as the result of the Business Plan initiatives approved by Council during their deliberations on November 26 and 27, 2018.

The 4.40% property tax increase will generate an additional $10.2 million to maintain the service level delivery of civic services and to cover costs related to inflation and growth in Saskatoon.

For a homeowner with a property assessment value of $371,000, the municipal portion of the 4.40% increase equates to $6.63 per month or $79.52 for the year.

“City Council considered $2.6 million in business plan priority spending options with a goal to minimize the property tax increase without compromising the delivery of civic services,” adds Tarasoff. “Council focused on controlling expenditures and maintaining the assets we need, and I believe they made strategic and well-intentioned decisions for 2019.”  

2019 Operating and Capital Budget Totals

  • $1.13 billion: Total 2019 Capital and Operating Budget (including Utilities, Operating & Capital)
    • $511.01 million: Total Operating Budget (excluding Utilities)
    • $362.06 million: Total Utility Operating Budget
    • $259.83 million: Total Capital Budget (including Utilities)

2019 Business Plan Options: Investment Highlights

  • Additional $350,000 for Building Better Parks Asset Management Phase-in
  • Additional $200,000 for the Recreation and Parks Facilities Game Plan
  • Additional $200,000 invested in Snow and Ice Service Level enhancements
  • $150,000 (including 1.0 FTE) to allow work on developing a low emissions community implementation plan aimed at lowering carbon emissions
  • $100,000 allocated to fund Meewasin Valley Authority
  • Building Better Bridges: $300,000 invested to maintain condition of bridges and overpasses
  • Building Better Transit: $200,000 invested for Transit fleet replacements
  • Urban Forestry and Pest Management Reserve: $150,000
  • Sidewalk Maintenance Service Level enhancement: $100,000
  • Winter City Grant Program: $25,000 to maintain dedicated programming
  • Total additional investment in Active Transportation Plan Phase-In and Master Plan:  $125,000
  • IT Project Management Continuous Improvement Initiatives: $125,000
  • Invested $120,000 in two dedicated Performance Improvement Coordinator positions tasked with creating process improvements and finding further efficiencies through the City’s corporate transformation planned for 2019.

City Council requested Administration to provide detailed return on investment reporting in 2019 and for 2020, and operational cost savings through continuous improvement initiatives resulting from the investment in these positions.

2019 Budget Highlights by the Numbers

  • 0%: Approved increase in Saskatoon Light & Power rates
  • 6.45%: Property tax increase for Saskatoon Public Library (compared to 0% last year)
  • 9.25%: Increase in water rates
  • $5.00: Increase for a single adult monthly recreation pass
  • $94.6 million: Approved for Saskatoon Police Service (up $4.1 million from 2018)
  • $5.9 million: Approved budget for Remai Modern Art Gallery (up $456,000 from 2018)
    • $128,000: Approved for Remai Modern Art Gallery staffing positions
  • $43.3 million: Approved Saskatoon Transit budget (up $2.1 million from 2018)
  • $71 million: Approved amount to invest in land development
  • 62: Approximate number of new full-time positions (including Saskatoon Public Library)
  • 20.6%: Share of City’s 2019 Budget allocated to Saskatoon Police Service
  • 6.6%: Share of 2019 Operating Budget dedicated to servicing debt

Administration will drive the development of the City’s first Multi-Year Budget for 2020 and 2021 with a rollout planned at the end of the first quarter in 2019. City Council’s Strategic Priorities and the Strategic Plan will continue to guide the budget process, and citizens will be encouraged to provide their input into the new multi-year budget process through a variety of public engagement opportunities held throughout the new year.

Visit saskatoon.ca/budget for more information.