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City council members fear the fate of homeless fundraising in the upcoming budget

“If we as a city care about things, we can always find the money to pay them,” said Coun. , said:

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A Regina city council member who is advocating funding to end homelessness in the next city budget worries that innocent mistakes can still have a negative impact.

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A budget update submitted to parliament on Wednesday that ruled out full funding to end the crisis through a housing-first approach set a red flag for Coun. Dan LeBlanc (Ward 6), especially since the motion he passed in June explicitly directed the administration to include it.

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LeBlanc said in an interview on Friday, “It has a negative impact, even though it’s innocent.

And that could be enough to sway alderman votes in the future, LeBlanc added.

During the update, LeBlanc questioned the lack of funding totaling $15.4 million. Some argued that major cost items put forward by Congress were historically postponed until budget time and then voted to be added to the budget, but acting mayor Jim Nicol said it was due on June 6. Agreed that it is against the motion of the month.

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But LeBlanc said that a vote against or in favor could make a big difference.

“You need six votes to remove it, but you need a majority vote to remove it from the beginning,” he explained. “Thus, whether the administration follows clear direction from June could matter when it comes to its chances of success.”

And homelessness wasn’t the only big problem that some aldermen were concerned about not having enough ink in their budgets. Earl. Shanon Zachidniak (District 8) expressed concern about the lack of sufficient funding for the city’s energy and sustainability framework.

After hearing how many big-ticket items are vying for cash and adding homelessness funding and more funding to the Framework could push the mill rate up to 9.5% or more. Coun. Bob Hawkins (Ward 2) and others called for caution.

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“I am deeply concerned that Regina residents listening to this budget debate will be in a state of nervous panic,” Hawkins said. You have to make trade-offs.”

These were comments at odds with LeBlanc, who said both the exclusion of homeless funding and the “retreat” of commitments he called his colleagues were more interested in symbolic moves than actual actions. was.

“As a city, if we care about something, we can always pay,” LeBlanc said, adding that he has done so in the past for things like Mosaic Stadium.

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The police budget has increased about as much as the homeless need in the last four years, but because funding police is a priority, a majority of Congress hasn’t said much about it, he said. Stated.

Even if funding for the homeless were added to the budget, LeBlanc said he understood it would be, but how it would be done would be important. Originally, he said the council asked the administration to create a budget that included it, but he still landed on a reasonable milling rate increase.

If it were simply added to the existing budget, what everyone would see when making a decision is how it would increase the shatter rate that could result in either or both situations. That’s all.

“Thus, the administration has not drafted the proposed budget with this in mind … kind of biased and undermines to some extent the clear intentions of Congress that we communicated to them in June,” LeBlanc said. Told.

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As for Zachidniak, Wednesday’s update may not have given the full picture of sustainability investments, so we’d like to know more about the budget when it’s released.

But she also wants to encourage the administration to get creative about how to simultaneously address multiple congressional priorities, such as net-zero building of housing developed to address homelessness. increase.

She acknowledged the challenge of balancing budgets and affordability, not in favor of “extremely high” mill rates, but should the administration return and take another look.

“Additional investments need not mean uniform increases in milling rates,” says Zachidniak. “We need to be more creative and innovative than ever before in how we invest in the moment. That’s what I want to see more of.”

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The administration will continue public engagement on the budget this fall. The service partner said he will submit a budget in November and the budget will be announced in late November. Budget deliberations and approval he will take place in mid-December.

jackerman@postmedia.com

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City council members fear the fate of homeless fundraising in the upcoming budget

Source link City council members fear the fate of homeless fundraising in the upcoming budget

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