Hello Ward 7 Residents,
I hope you’re doing well and staying safe. It’s been a busy start to the new term of Council, and I’m looking forward to providing you with some highlights from the 2021 Budget and other updates from City Hall.
Last week Council concluded its debate on the 2021 budget. The budget plan had been approved in late 2019 as part of the multi-year budget process, but of course the changing circumstances around Covid (and the related effects on City coffers) needed to be accounted for through a number of adjustments. In the end, Council reduced the municipal property tax rate by 1.04 per cent from the originally approved 3.87 per cent. The new municipal property tax of 2.83 per cent is the lowest rate since 2006, and for a homeowner with an average assessment value of $371,000, the new rate results in $55.37/year or $4.61/month.
The adjustments made during the debate include:
- Removal of $2,558,100 from the overall budget as a global adjustment.
- $100,000 invested towards the innovative Affordable Housing Program
- $71,000 removed from the travel and car allowance budgets for Mayor and Council
- $65,000 allocated for additional berm mowing to ensure service levels are met
- $199,300 removed from the Saskatoon Police Service proposed budget
- Council approved free parking in the downtown core and business improvement districts on Saturdays from January 1 to March 31, 2021
It’s always tricky to distill such a lengthy process down to a few bullet points, so I hope that if you have questions or would like more information that you will feel free to follow up with me. Below is an illustration of some of the major highlights and impacts:
Cleanup efforts continue in response to the blizzard in November, and crews have now shifted their focus from snow clearing to snow removal and the load-out of windrows (aka piles of snow). This work is underway in some Ward 7 neighbourhoods already, and a rough schedule has been posted here.
Watch for signage in your neighbourhood and move your vehicles as required to ensure the most effective and efficient process possible!
Willows Concept Plan Amendment
Dream Developments has applied to amend the concept plan in the Willows, and residents of the Willows should be aware that because of difficulties in delivering notices to residents, the public information meeting scheduled for December 15th has been rescheduled until early 2021. Residents can check here for the latest information and for opportunities to share feedback and ask questions.
As you know, Covid cases continue to grow at troubling rates in Saskatchewan, and here in Saskatoon we need to work together to protect the welfare of the community, vulnerable residents, and the health care system. Last week, City leaders spoke about the need to focus our efforts in the following ways:
Our ask to every individual:
1. Create a very small bubble made up of your household and only essential connections, like caregivers. These are the only people you don’t need to wear a mask around or distance from.
2. Always wear a mask when interacting with people outside of your bubble.
3. Keep physically distancing at least 2 metres.
4. Plan ahead how and where you need to go, and who you need to meet in person and who you can meet virtually. Be clear with the people in your life about these plans.
5. Sign up for the COVID Alert App: it can make the difference in exposures continuing for minutes after someone has tested positive, or days.
I know we are collectively facing down a very different kind of holiday season, and that residents have been asked to adapt again and again to change in the last year. These sacrifices have made a difference and will continue to make a difference in the trajectory of this virus in Saskatoon, and we need to keep working together. To learn about the latest Covid-related changes to city programs and services, visit this page.
Thanks for reading – please let me know if you have any questions, comments, or concerns you’d like to discuss with me.
All the best,
City Councillor, Ward 7