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City Council approves 2021 Adjusted Budget, lowering property tax, investing in core services and quality of life

For immediate release: December 4, 2020 - 4:14pm

City Council approved an adjusted City Budget for 2021 on December 3, 2020 after two days of review, debate and strategic decision-making. As part of the new two-year budget cycle, City Council was able to revisit the 2020-2021 Multi-Year Business Plan and Budget’s Operating and Capital plans (previously approved November 2019) in this second budget year to adjust to any unanticipated external factors of significant impact on the City’s 2021 Budget. The financial impact the pandemic left on City operations was key to consider in the 2021 Budget review process.

“Council’s approved 2021 Budget helps to minimize the tax burden on residents and maximize value for services from taxpayer dollars,” says Mayor Charlie Clark. “Considering this challenging time, Council approved investments tied to providing a quality of life in our city with dedicated resources for affordable housing, and support for our local economic recovery.”

The Administration had proposed an adjusted budget with a strategy to absorb extra costs related to the pandemic and balance the budget with the Safe Restart funding the City received. The proposed budget adjustments ensured the previously approved 3.87 per cent property tax rate would not increase in 2021. Yet with so much uncertainty and the challenges of the pandemic, City Council sharpened its pencil to reduce expenditures and increase affordability. 

“The approved 2021 Budget reflects strategic investments made by Council to stimulate Saskatoon’s economy and build a strong future for our community,” adds Clark. “The 2021 Budget is balanced and while expenses were lowered in some areas, the budget continues to meet the needs of services and programs for our growing city.”

Council balanced its decisions with fiscal constraint and focused on continuing to provide strong services tied to investments to provide quality of life in Saskatoon.

Highlights and Adjustments made in the 2021 Approved Budget

Council shaved the municipal property tax rate by 1.04 per cent from the originally approved 3.87 per cent. The new municipal property tax of 2.83 per cent is the lowest rate since 2006. For a homeowner with an average assessment value of $371,000, the new rate results in $55.37/year or $4.61/month.

The adjustments made include:

  • Removal of $2,558,100 from the overall budget as a global adjustment.
  • $100,000 invested towards the innovative Affordable Housing Program
  • $71,000 removed from the travel and car allowance budgets for Mayor and Council
  • $65,000 allocated for additional berm mowing to ensure service levels are met
  • $199,300 removed from the Saskatoon Police Service proposed budget
  • Council approved free parking in the downtown core and business improvement districts on Saturdays from January 1 to March 31, 2021

2021 Total Operating & Capital Budget:

Civic Operating:  $540,877,400
Utility Operating: $369,024,600
Land Operating:  $5,738,800
Total Operating: $915,640,800
Total Capital:  $284,640,200

2021 Capital Budget Adjustments

City Council approved reductions to the 2021 Capital Budget in the amount of $9.96 million, taking the total Capital Budget from $294.61 million to $284.64 million.

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