City of Regina expands it borders skpic

The City of Regina expanded its borders on Jan. 1 and now it's going to approve tax exemptions for the former rural properties that would otherwise be facing higher property tax rates. (City of Regina)

Now that it has expanded, the City of Regina will give temporary tax breaks to dozens of former rural properties that are now within its borders.

City council will be asked to vote on a bylaw tonight to approve $668,000 worth of partial property tax exemptions for 2014.

On Jan. 1, the city expanded its borders to the east, northwest and southwest as part of a plan to grow its population to 300,000. It had 193,000 in the 2011 census.

2014 is the first year of a five-year tax mitigation policy.

If the city didn't create exemptions, homeowners and businesses that previously paid relatively low rural municipality rates would get hit with large increases all at once.

The tax exemptions are designed to cushion the tax shock.

Taxes on most of the properties will start at the rural rate and increase over five years.

Some will see a phase-in, while others will see the rural rates in place until 2018. A smaller group of properties will see exemptions granted for up to 15 years.