No Solution Yet on Property Tax Bylaw

Robert Thomas

Making it official how much more you will have to pay in additional property taxes will have to wait another two weeks, as the 2018 Property Tax Bylaw received only two readings.

At Monday's City Council meeting, Finance Director Brian Acker said Admin was only looking for two readings of the bylaw, as later that evening Executive Committee would discuss and allocate the newly returned SaskEnergy five percent surcharge.

Councillor Brian Swanson spoke out against the tax increase as the City has made no moves in cutting expenditures.

"Last year it was 6.24 percent. One reason given was the reduction in the Provincial grant in lieu,” Councillor Swanson said, adding “one thing missing from the puzzle is looking at our own operation and reducing.”

He pointed out other centres have reduced expenditures but Moose Jaw hadn’t.

"We’re asking everybody else to do what we won’t do ourselves,” Coun Swanson.

“There is no question that over the last couple of years things have been financially difficult to pay…we have services we need to provide…and the reality is they do go up every year,” Councillor Chris Warren stated.

“One option is to decrease spending but the reality is it is going to come to a cut in service,” Coun Warren said.

Having a tax sharing approach and reducing the gap between the tax rates for commercial versus residential properties is necessary to attract new or keep existing businesses, he said.

“The bigger the gap, the less attractive it is for commercial businesses,” Coun Warren said.

Councillors Dawn Luhning and Swanson voted against the bylaw in each of the two readings.
By reading the proposed bylaw twice means in a subsequent council meeting a simple majority in a third reading will make it official.