A last second request by the Meewasin Valley Authority to get more funding for their operations was approved by Saskatoon's City Council on day 2 of budget deliberations.
Council voted unanimously to spend $45,000 on operating the Meewasin Skating Rink this winter, and also voted in favour of spending $286,000 on operational costs for the authority for just next year. The City of Saskatoon, the provincial government and the University of Saskatchewan are the three entities that support the MVA. However, in the past year the province and the U of S reduced their commitment by a combined $440,000, and a provision was changed that removed the statutory funding requirement. Volunteer Board Chair Colin Tennent told council the provision change means they don't know how much money they'll receive next year. Councillor Darren Hill asked Tennent if he had talked to the RM of Corman Park, where Meewasin owns more than 7,000 hectares of land, about funding the MVA. The rural municipality was initially a partner of Meewasin when it formed, but pulled out of the agreement at the start. After the meeting, Tennent told reporters that they have been in talks with the RM, and thinks there's an opportunity to approach Corman Park for funding. The mayor and 10 councillors were in support of the operations funding request of $286,000, but not on where the money comes from. In the end, council voted 8-3 in favour of half and half, where $143,000 would come from property tax and the same amount would be transferred from the special events fund. Tennent hopes this funding sends a message to the candidates in the Saskatchewan Party leadership race. He says one of them will become Premier in January, noting that candidate Ken Cheveldayoff has publicly voiced support for increasing provincial MVA funding. At the end, council settled with a 4.7% property tax increase while also deciding to remove the 0.55% snow and ice levy which is equivalent to 1.2 million dollars. Chief Financial Officer Kerry Tarasoff points out that city residents will see the same level of service as they had last year.