The City of Regina is mulling a 7 per cent property tax hike. Officials say they've avoided what could have been an additional 11-18 per cent in hikes through 'efficiencies.'

With a debate over a proposed 7 per cent tax hike underway,  the City of Regina has put out a report saying how thrifty it has been in recent years.

The city report on "operational efficiencies" from 2006-2013 says $18 million worth of annual savings were found. In addition, there were another $9 million in one-time savings, the report says.

Big list of 'efficiencies'

The city released a lengthy list of things that that it says resulted in savings for taxpayers.

The biggest single item identified was a reduction of $1.4 million from the city asphalt plant by reducing the natural gas used.

Another large saving was in the roadways and transportation services section: $897,350. That for something the city calls "staffing arrangements and succession planning."

Many of the efficiencies are much smaller.

The city says it will save $1,000 a year after buying a new power broom. 

There are also items listed that don't have a dollar figure attached. For instance, the city says it phased out its Polaroid cameras in 2007, switching to digital cameras.

The city says if it hadn't found ways to trim spending and add extra dollars from outside sources, property owners could have been facing tax increases totalling anywhere from 11 per cent to 18 per cent.

18% in hikes likely wouldn't have gone ahead

That would be in addition to the roughly 25 per cent taxes increased over the same period.

City officials say it's unlikely the public would have accepted the extra 18 per cent.

"It is more likely that citizens would have seen significant drops in service levels [such as] hours of operation of recreational facilities, care and maintenance of parks, winter road maintenance etc.," a report to the city's executive committee said.

The document also says the city is grappling with a $2 billion infrastructure gap, the amount it says should be spent to catch up on long-overdue repairs to roads, curbs, sidewalks and sewers.

If the city wanted to catch up on its infrastructure deficit, it would have to spend an extra $93 million a year for 20 years.

This year's proposed tax hike, 7 per cent, includes 1 per cent that's been earmarked as extra money for fixing decaying streets.

It council approves the increase, it will be the biggest hike in more than 30 years. 

City of Regina Efficiencies Report 2014