City employees in Saskatoon have some ideas that could lead to nearly no property tax increase for 2018.
The city's latest estimate is a 5.77% property tax increase for 2018. That is down from earlier estimates of 6.48% and 6.97%. The city asked its employees for ideas as to how they could lower the property tax increase and as a result over 600 ideas were received. There were some ideas that could be brought in to lower the increase to 5.59% such as adjusting the City's Local Travel Car Allowance by $175,000 and by city employees taking voluntary unpaid days off, among others. However, there is a possibility to lower the tax increase to 0.16%, but the ideas that would lower it that far need to be discussed by City Council. They include an amusement tax worth $1 million in annual savings, removal of the dedicated snow and ice levy at $1.2 million, bi-weekly garbage collection year-round, charging for waste as a utility, less watering in parks and green spaces, and a fee for building secondary suites. The city hasn't had an Amusement Tax since 2007. Adding one could mean an added cost on each ticket sold at TCU Place, SaskTel Centre, sporting events, movie theatres, live theatre, outdoor concerts, etc. That's from the idea a city employee gave. City councillors will be discussing the issue Monday before the final rate is settled during budget deliberations in November. The property tax hike comes as a result of the province cutting grants-in-lieu previous paid to the city.