Council canceled their regularly scheduled meeting to hold a special emergency session at which they batted around ideas for how to cope with the provincial budget. Normally, provincial budgets don’t require emergency sessions. This was a big, unprecedented deal.
The three big areas of concern the city faces are:
- The province is ending the Grants-In-Lieu program whereby they get reimbursed for the property taxes SaskPower and SaskEnergy aren’t paying. This’ll damage the city’s bottom line to the tune of $10.7 million-a-year when fully implemented.
- City staff estimate the 1% increase to the Provincial Sales Tax will cost the city an additional $3 million a year.
- The province cut funding to Regina’s libraries. That’s a loss of $600,000 to the RPL budget.
- The province disbanded the Wascana Centre Authority and took control of Wascana Park. What that means in the long run is anybody’s guess.
Council won’t make any decisions about what to do about all this until after another special session they scheduled for April 10.
Until then, you follow all my live-tweets from their emergency session below.