Advanced polls sewage referendum Regina

The 'No' side won Regina's Sept. 25 sewage treatment plant referendum. (CBC)

It cost about $231,000 to run last month's sewage plant referendum, the City of Regina says.

However, City Hall's extra labour costs are expected to add another $125,000 to the referendum-related costs being footed by taxpayers.

According to a report going to City Council Tuesday, the $231,493 portion includes an advertising campaign, staff costs on referendum day, printing, postage, plus free bus and paratransit service.

The Sept. 25 referendum asked voters if they wanted to go for a traditional design-bid-build plan for upgrading the sewage treatment plant, instead of the public-private partnership model. 

As it turned out, 43 per cent voted yes for the traditional model and 57 per cent voted no. The traditional model would have cost $224-million.

Yes and No signs compete on Regina lawns

Regina taxpayers will have to pay about $356,000 for referendum-related costs, plus an estimated $340,000 extra for the city's 'Vote No' campaign. (CBC)

Not included in the referendum costs is the city's spending to promote the "No" option. Before the vote, officials said campaign was expected to cost around $340,000.

If the cost of the referendum, City Hall extra labour costs and No vote campaign are added up, the total comes to about $700,000, somewhat less than the potential $900,000 figure that was proposed in August.

Here's the cost breakdown on the $231,493 direct costs of the referendum:

  • Communication: $79,558 
  • Referendum staffing: $101,244 
  • Printing: $17,770 
  • Supplies, postage and miscellaneous: $15,323
  • Transit and paratransit (266 rides): $665
  • Accu-vote rental: $15,453 
  • Storage and destruction: $1,480

The overhead costs include 10 weeks of four city clerk department staff working full time, four weeks of five other city clerk employees working part-time, 25 other city staff working full-time for 16 hours, plus facility and information technology staff as required.

The election costs were not budgeted and will have to come out of reserves, the city report says.