NEWS
03/27/2017 19:13 EDT | Updated 03/28/2018 01:12 EDT

Of Sask. cities, provincial budget hits Yorkton hardest

The City of Yorkton is proportionately taking the hardest hit of all municipalities from the Saskatchewan budget released last week, losing 58 per cent of its revenue sharing.

Yorkton Mayor Bob Maloney told CBC Radio's Blue Sky the city is facing a net loss of $2.3 million on its books — $1.6 million of which is due to cuts to grants from Crown corporations in lieu of property taxes. 

Yorkton had an agreement dating back to 1959 that saw the city receive grants equal to five per cent of revenue from SaskPower and SaskEnergy in lieu of property taxes.

Losing $1.6 million is comparable to shuttering the city's Gallagher Centre Water Park for one year, Maloney said.

'I think it's kind of disingenuous to say we can just dip into reserves.'- Bob Maloney, Yorkton mayor

"For perspective, that would amount to about a 10 per cent hike in taxes for local residents if we were to pass it right through," Maloney said. 

The city was already mulling over a five per cent tax increase prior to the provincial budget's release and "now the plate is overflowing," said Maloney.

Maloney said Yorkton would have been far better off if all sectors had shared the budget cuts more evenly.​

He also thinks if the government had consulted with municipalities, a better solution could have been reached. 

"I think it's kind of disingenuous to say we can just dip into reserves," he said, referring to a suggestion by the premier. He added that municipalities are legally mandated to balance budgets. 

Both Regina and Saskatoon are wrestling with multimillion-dollar funding losses as well.