I’m waking up every morning wondering if today’s the day the whole system comes crashing down. Governments everywhere are teetering on the brink of collapse. Around here, Brad Wall is besieged by a slow gathering of inconvenient evidence about his government’s fiscal mismanagement and hinky Global Transportation Hub land deals. In Alberta, Notley’s reward for running the province in a manner falling well within the range of normal for the ’80s PCs is to be harassed and threatened to the point where she needs a security detail. Trudeau’s bloom has begun to wilt and the three frontrunners to lead his opposition are each some brand of toxic moron. And then of course there’s Trump… ’nuff said.
The world is burning around us. But there is one tranquil oasis of governance you can rely upon: Regina city council. On Mon Feb 13, they gathered to debate the 2017 budget and you may not agree with any of the goals laid out in that document, but holy crap, at least no nuns were ripped off in its construction, there was no line item which read “Build A Wall (to keep immigrants out)” and no one in Putin’s inner circle was secretly manipulating its outcome.
It was a boring, boring, boring, no big surprise budget. Thank all the Gods of Sensible Bureaucracy. And thanks to city administration for assembling something long, tedious and, dare I say it, entirely reasonable. Sure, I have a laundry list of things I’d like to have seen in this budget — the continued failure to support the Housing First program financially is shameful, for instance — but at least this wasn’t a clusterfuck. Can we all agree on that at least? It wasn’t a clusterfuck.
For those who just want to know the key deets: Council voted to nudge down the proposed property tax and utility rate increases. The property tax increase will be 3.99% this year (down from 4.18%). The utility rate increase will be 4% (down from 5%).
For those who crave a council play-by-play, here is a collection of my live-tweeting from that Feb 13 council meeting.