In brief, here are four items of public interest that were discussed during the April 2018 City Council meeting. The full agenda can be accessed here.
2018 Property Tax Levy
2018 property taxes were reduced by $1,922,600 or 0.91% for a final mill rate increase of 3.79% for the City of Saskatoon.
Finalization of the 2018 civic operating budget on December 28, 2017, resulted in a municipal budget increase of 4.7% (2.78% attributed to provincial funding reductions, 1.17% to Police Services, and 0.75% to be invested in all remaining civic programs and services) and a library tax increase of 0%. Since that time, the 2018-2019 Provincial Budget was released, which reinstated part of the grants-in-lieu removed in the 2017-2018 budget. Municipal budgets should not be reopened often, but because Saskatoon residents were asked to bear some of the burden of the 2017-2018 grants-in-lieu revenue impacts, that proportional amount that was added to the 2017 mill rate is being returned to residents. This is important to me because it allows for transparency in our budget process.
As a result of the reduced mill rate, the typical single-family home will see an increase of $67 (2.13%) in total 2018 property tax which includes municipal, library, and education tax.
For more information on Property Taxes visit saskatoon.ca/services-residents/property-tax-assessments.
Residential Fire Pits
This item has been discussed over many months leading up to the reading of the bylaw this month. The Bylaw No. 7990, The Fire and Protective Services, 2001 was amended to prohibit open-air fires outside the hours of 2:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. daily.
This bylaw amendment sets a time restriction for the use of residential fire pits. This amendment does not change the use of things like outdoor natural gas fireplaces, backyard barbeques or public barbeques (e.g. Forestry Farm or Meewasin Valley).
This was one of the most difficult decisions for me, because it has led to a lot of polarization among neighbours. Ultimately this amendment allows for predictability for residents as to when they can open their windows and be smoke-free in their homes. It also balances the use of fire pits as a recreation and family activity. Visit saskatoon.ca/services-residents/fire-emergency/public-education/fire-pits for more information.
Storm Water Pond Safety Review
City Council supported the recommendations of a steering committee on the following items:
- Building a partial fence between the Dundonald storm pond and nearby school;
- Leaving Lakeview storm pond as is; and
- Following the recommendations of the Storm Water Pond Safety Review which identifies design standards for future
storm ponds and measures for education and awareness, signage, maintenance,
and recreation, to increase safety around storm ponds throughout the city.
A steering committee with members from several City divisions and representatives from the Saskatoon Public and Greater Saskatoon Catholic school divisions oversaw the review, which incorporated evaluations by three multi-disciplinary task teams, onsite pond inspections, consideration of other jurisdictions’ storm pond safety reports and practices, and citizen and stakeholder input.
For the full report and recommendations, see pages 398 - 449 of Council's April agenda.
Joni Mitchell Promenade - River Landing
In recognition of the accomplishments of Joni Mitchell, City Council supported the recommendation to name the promenade in River Landing that is located adjacent to the south side of Spadina Crescent East, from 2nd Avenue South to 3rd Avenue South (as shown on the accompanying map) “Joni Mitchell Promenade”.