Regina council approves 5.88% tax hike after marathon meeting

Regina used to manage emergencies out of City Hall, before moving to space at police headquarters downtown. Now it's looking at setting up an emergency operations centre on 4th Avenue.

Following a marathon meeting that wrapped up after midnight, Regina City Council has voted to increase taxes by 5.88 per cent.

It's the biggest increase in recent years, although less than the 7 per cent that had been proposed earlier this year.

Mayor Michael Fougere has said the extra money is needed to catch up on long-overdue infrastructure demands, plus to deal with the requirements of a growing city.

However, some delegates who appeared at the seven-hour meeting argued 7 per cent is too much and the city must do what it can to hold the line.

Council members, after listening to presentations from several delegations, began speaking around 10:30 p.m. CST Monday and were still discussing the budget as of midnight. A final vote was held at around 12:30 a.m.

The 5.88 per cent increase will apply to the city portion of taxes only (and not library or education taxes).

The hike includes a 1 per cent special tax for building streets in older areas of the city. Also included in the total is the latest hike to the stadium tax — about 0.45 per cent this year.

Among those arguing the original hike was over the top was the Regina Association of Realtors.

"You know, three, four per cent is certainly in the range," Gord Archibald, from the Regina Association of Realtors, said prior to the meeting.

"Even five per cent, I suppose, is livable. But seven per cent is just too much."

Archibald was one of the delegations to make a presentation to council.

"It's going to have a significant impact," said John Hopkins, from the Regina and District Chamber of Commerce, who was also concerned about the original proposal. "At the end of the day, business owners as well as homeowners, will say what are we going to do offset this increase."