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Regina residents react to proposed tax increases in 2023-2024 budget

The City of Regina's proposed first two year budget has been met with varying feedback as taxes are set to be on the rise once again. File / Global News

The City of Regina announced its proposed multi-year budget for 2023-2024 earlier this week and it is being met with some mixed opinions from Regina residents.

If passed, the budget will increase in three key areas that affect residents.

Read more: City of Regina releases its proposed 2023-24 budget to project revenue, expenses

In the proposed budget, the city announced a 4.67-per cent mill rate increase for 2023, followed by a 4.66-per cent increase in 2024.

The budget also shows a rate increase of 4.5 per cent for Regina’s Water Utility proposed for 2023 and 4.0 per cent in 2024.

Another key highlight is the $232.4 million in 2023 and 2024 for infrastructure renewal, new construction, and maintenance of Regina’s water, wastewater and stormwater systems.

“Administration’s philosophy during the creation of the draft budget was that, if a tax increase was being proposed, it must be reasonable and responsible, even if it meant containing new spending in ways that not everyone will agree with,” said city manager Niki Anderson.

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As expected, some residents do in fact disagree.

“I think it is unnecessary,” said Regina resident Amy Auton. “It is an unnecessary increase and a burden on people that are already stretched thin and at their limits.”

Resident Roshnie Thver has a similar view on the proposed tax increase.

“I don’t think it is a good time right now to be increasing prices,” Thver said. “People are having a hard time as it is putting food on the table. Maybe in a year or two they can evaluate the whole thing and see if it is an appropriate time to increase taxes.”

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The City said its first multi-year budget will mark a shift towards longer-term financial planning to strengthen strategic priorities to support the long-term funding plans.

Thver, however, believes it isn’t the right time to get things back on track after the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I understand the city is wanting to reduce debt but I think the timing is not right,” she said. “The pandemic has really put an added burden on so many of us and in so many ways. People have lost their job and it is a really hard time for people right now.”

Other members of the community, though, are OK with the increase in fees.

“If the taxes are used for something we need like road resurfacing and viable things I am fine with the increase,” said Regina resident Bonny Boychuk. “As long as it is used properly.”

For more details on the budget, visit the City of Regina website.

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