Weyburn property taxes up 3.9%, offset by reduced levy

Residential property owners in Weyburn will see their property taxes go up by 3.9 per cent this year, but the increase will be offset by a reduction in the hospital levy by $100.

City council passed the 2020 budget on Monday evening at their first meeting of the new year, which will see a total budget of $43.4 million that includes an operating budget of $24.7 million, and a capital budget of $18.7 million.

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“The proposed increase is a result of upcoming infrastructure projects that council believes are important to our community while maintaining essential civic services,” said Laura Missal, Director of Finance.

The increase comes after deliberations in fall of 2019, where city council directed administration to target a tax increase between three to four per cent, as the hospital levy was being reduced by $100 to $40 per residence.

For a homeowner with a property assessment value of $300,000, with the municipal portion of the 3.9 per cent increase and a decrease in hospital levy of $100, the property taxes equates to a reduction in taxes of $4.34 per month or $52.12 for the year.

The tax bill for a home with this value works out to about $748, plus the base tax of $664. The education property tax, which is set by the provincial government, would be $988 based on last year’s rates. This year’s education tax rate won’t be known until the government sets the provincial budget later this spring.

Other highlights of the budget include paying the levy to the Southeast Regional Library of $377,625, and replacing the HVAC systems at both the Weyburn Leisure Centre and the Weyburn Public Library, along with ongoing construction of the Weyburn Recreation and Culture Centre.

Some of the bigger capital projects include resurfacing of a taxi runway at the Weyburn Airport, replacing sidewalks on Government Road, and construction of a new fleet storage facility that will replace the roundhouse at the Public Works yard.

The City will also be installing new entrance signs for the city, paving of Riverfront Road, watermain replacement on First Avenue SE, upgrades to Lift Station 3, and Phase 2 of the city landfill upgrade, which includes leachate, storm water retention and hydrovac waste infrastructure.

“This is my seventh year to be doing this, and every year we’ve been moving to have the budget done by the end of the year. We started this in about September. Council has been talking to administration and the city departments to pare down the budget and to come up with a fiscally-responsible budget, and maybe even improve services,” said Coun. Mel Van Betuw. “There’s a lot of work that goes into the budget process.”

“I also would thank the administrative team for putting this budget together at this time of the year,” added Coun. Dick Michel, noting he’s been doing this for almost 20 years on council. “We used to get this by March or April, now it’s done by January. Your work is very much appreciated.”

Mayor Marcel Roy noted an important advantage to having the budget done now is they can put out requests for proposals to contractors, and get more work done in the city in a more timely manner.