Despite a $19.5 million gap, City of Regina prepares historically low mill rate increase for 2021 budget

Regina Mayor Sandra Masters is preparing for her first budget, which currently sees a $19.5 million gap to be bridged by administration.

Masters says she’s not worried about the shortfall at the moment.

“I think administration has proposed some good options in terms of filling that gap, both through cost-efficiencies as well as some revenue opportunities or just even using some of the restart federal money that we’ll be able to apply to the 2021 budget and be able to manage our way through it.”

Administration is promising to bridge the gap for the 2021 budget while also offering a historically low mill rate increase of 2.35 percent.

Masters says it will be important to keep the mill rate increase as small as possible.

“Everybody’s costs go up to a certain element every year, so to say there’s going to be a little bit that’s outside of our control would be fair,” Masters said. “We have some resources that we’re looking to add to and then we have a little bit of an economy slow-down, we’ve got COVID we’re coming out of, so (we’re) just wanting to make sure that we’re super responsible and sensitive to the fact that household budgets are tight.”

Masters says over half of that mill rate increase (1.4 percent) would go to the Regina Police.

“In terms of police officers to our population, we’re probably 60 behind (and) the upcoming budget calls for eight new recruits,” Masters said. “It’s kind of easy to support when it’s identified they need multiple of those (recruits) and they’re asking for a modest amount.”

Another .5 percent would go towards recreational infrastructure funding, and the remaining .45 percent would go towards Mosaic Stadium.

The budget will be debated by city council in either late February or early March.

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