Following another Special Budget Meeting today, City Council’s Governance and Priorities Committee (GPC) has further reduced the projected funding gap in the 2024/2025 Multi-Year Budget, with additional opportunities to shrink the gap still to come.
Through today’s decisions, the projected funding gap has been further reduced by a total of $3.15 million in 2024 and $554,000 in 2025. If left unmitigated, which is unlikely, the current funding gap would equate to a property tax increase of 7.47% in 2024 and 5.93% in 2025.
GPC completed its discussion on administration-recommended options within several business line reports at today’s meeting and recommended the following budget options be integrated into the 2024/2025 Preliminary 2024/2025 Multi-Year Business Plan and Budget:
- Closure of the East Compost Depot
- Reduce operating hours by one (1) hour at the end of the day at the Landfill and Material Recovery Centre
- Eliminate skunk inspection, trapping and relocation services for private residential properties
- Modify the Mosquito Control Treatment Area buffer zone to be one to two kilometres outside of city limits instead of five to ten kilometres outside of city limits
- Defer the Remai Modern Civic Buildings & Comprehensive Maintenance Reserve phase-in contribution for 2024
- Phase out of the $100,000 Interest Stabilization Support over two years
- A $5 fee increase for Manual Tax Certificate/Tax Searches and a $10 fee increase for Online Tax Certificate/Tax Searches
- A 0.5% increase in the City’s Current and Arrears monthly Property Tax Penalty Rate in 2024
- An increase in the reduced penalty rate for parking offences from $30 to $35
- An increase in the late payment penalty rate for parking offences from $50 to $60
- An increase to the City’s Land Lease Revenue Budget to account for signed but potentially temporary lease revenue
- A 20% reduction in the program, research and design budget for Recreation and Culture
- No new FTE’s for playground & youth centre staff training
- No new FTE’s for an Outdoor Special Events Organizer
- Redirect a portion of savings ($250,000) experienced from the temporary closure of the Harry Bailey Aquatic Centre in 2024 and 2025
- Reduction to the Corridor Planning Program’s Special Services operating budget
- Reduce the payroll cost (CPP, EI, Benefits, WCB, etc.) estimate by $200,000 in 2024
- Reduce the operating phase-in of the City’s SAP program by $250,000 in 2024 and 2025
- Exemption of City properties from the City storm charge for 2024 and 2025
- Reduction of 50% of the inflationary pressures to the Information Technology Reserve
- Reduce snowpile removal from parking lots at civic facilities
An additional Special Budget Meeting has been scheduled for September 20, at which time additional options that were not recommended by Administration are expected to be discussed, as well as the Utilities Business Line report. Council is also awaiting draft budget submissions from the Saskatoon Board of Police Commissioners and the Saskatoon Library Board.
Administration will continue to refine and adjust numbers for the budget book which will be presented at the 2024/2025 Business Plan and Budget meeting in late November.
For more facts and reliable information on the 2024/2025 Multi-Year Business Plan and Budget, please visit Saskatoon.ca/budget.