Twenty-one programs and services have been cut as the City of Regina looks for ways to alleviate its $10.3-million funding shortfall.
Initially, 25 programs and services were on the chopping block but the city opted to continue funding four: the Regent Park Golf Course, the PlayEscapes summer drop-in program, conventional transit during statutory holidays, and operations and maintenance of the Leslie Lawn Bowling Greens.
But other programs and services, ranging from asphalt maintenance to landfill hours to flower pot maintenance, saw cuts.
The city projected nearly $1.7 million in annual savings from 2017 on and one-time savings of $874,500 from cutting all 25 programs and services.
Opting to continue the four programs and services will reduce the ongoing annual savings to just under $1.4 million.
Next year, the city is expecting a larger funding shortfall of $15.7 million due to the province axing its grants-in-lieu paid to municipalities.
The mill rate was increased to 6.49 per cent.
Cuts and trims
Among the larger cuts was the condo waste rebate, which will save the city $250,000 per year. Waste services are not provided by the city for condos, so a rebate was paid in its place.
The city's asphalt maintenance funding was reduced by $300,000 per year. Maintenance paving is done on particularly eroded stretches of Regina road when a simple pave would cost less than isolated annual maintenance, such as filling potholes. An analysis of the proposed cuts included in council's April 10 agenda noted the reduction could incur higher costs in the future.
The city's summer sweep program was scrapped, which will save $130,000 per year. The sweep primarily focused on the downtown area. The city's analysis said scrapping the program increases the risk of debris getting into the storm sewer system.
The collection depot program — including pick up of leaf and yard waste, and hazardous household waste, along with the "treecycle" program — was eliminated, for a one-time saving of $400,000. The city noted the cut will result in more waste being sent to the landfill, an increased workload at the landfill, and a reduction in casual landfill jobs.
The city is moving to a biweekly schedule in the winter months for solid waste collection, which will provide a one-time saving of $132,000. Staff will be reduced and this cut could result in over-filled trash bins, the city noted.
- Snow Busters program eliminated, saving $50,000 per year.
- Printed leisure guides eliminated, saving $40,000 per year.
- Spring and road construction advertising eliminated, saving $75,000 per year.
- Snow fencing will be reduced, saving $55,000 per year.
- 2017 fall herbicide spray will be suspended, saving $63,000.
- Contracted pruning is reduced, saving $50,000 per year.
- The number of flower pots, primarily in the downtown area, will be reduced to 100 pots from 400, saving $18,500 per year.
- The transit grant for Agribition patrons will be reduced, saving $60,000 per year.
- Heritage Award Ceremony will be eliminated, saving $6,000 per year.
- Heritage conservation program has reduced its scope, saving $50,000.
- Consultation regarding the downtown housing initiative has been deferred, saving $37,500.
- Recycling public outreach to schools reduced, saving $30,000.
- Recycling communication reduced, saving $100,000.
- Landfill will be closed on statutory holidays effective May 1, saving $60,000.
- Landfill hours will change to winter hours, closing at 5:30 p.m. CST, saving $61,000.