Regina residents can expect to see a slight increase on their property taxes after City Council approved the first part of their 2021 municipal budget.
With six new members of Council, Mayor Sandra Masters says the first night of delegation went quite well.
“I did suspect that it could go a little long, just given that we have new council members, and there would be questions they were looking to have answered,” said Masters. “All in, I’m very pleased with council continuing the push through the operating, capital, and utility budget today.”
Council kept the proposed budget relatively as-is, minus a few minor changes aimed at helping the community through the pandemic.
One such change, proposed by Councillor Andrew Stevens, was to allocate $500,000 of the city’s COVID-19 reserve fund to go towards harm-reduction strategies in the city.
Masters says the money will help the city address some of the drug-related issues facing the city.
“We have some issues here in this city,” said Masters. “And Councillor Stevens was correct, there’s no entitlement in terms of the Covid-relief fund, so being able to fund some of the community wellness initiatives, is important to council.”
Masters says it makes sense to use the money from the Covid-relief fund, as good harm-reduction strategies are a part of the city’s recovery plan.
“Covid has clearly exposed some gaps in some of our support within the community,” said Masters. “It’s been quite some time since there’s been some increases to some of those budgets, so it seems fair.”
The city also allocated $200,000 to funding disability supports in the city.
After approving the operating, capital, and utility budgets, council will reconvene Thursday to discuss the police budget.