New stadium taxes discussed at Regina city hall

Regina's proposed new stadium was on the agenda at city hall Wednesday — as was a possible 5-per cent hike to property taxes.

Regina's proposed new stadium was on the agenda at city hall Wednesday — as was a possible 5-per cent hike to property taxes.

On the weekend, Regina Mayor Pat Fiacco and Premier Brad Wall announced a deal to build a $278 million open-air facility to replace Mosaic Stadium, which is the home of the Saskatchewan Roughriders football team.

The proposal was voted through by the executive committee, which is council in its committee form. Next, it goes before city council.

Long term tax plan

Under the proposed deal, property taxpayers will be hit with a mill rate increase of about 5 per cent, which will be phased in over a decade.

A city administration report says the hike, if approved, will start at between .35 and .45 per cent and increase each year by the same amount for 10 years.

That will be in addition to any other mill rate increases, which have averaged about 3 per cent a year for the past five years.

The city is also looking at adding a new hotel tax, which would be added on to room rental prices.

What has been ruled out for now is an amusement tax, which might be added to movie, theatre and music show tickets.

However, an important part of the financing is a new $4-a-ticket charge that will be added to the price of Rider tickets. The city says it will use that revenue to help pay off a $100 million loan from the province, which is separate from an $80 million provincial grant.

The city's plan is that over 30 years it will raise $675 million using property taxes, other taxes, the Rider ticket fee, stadium rentals and other means that have yet to be determined.

It needs that much money because it's responsible not only for a portion of the capital construction costs of the $278-million stadium, but also for all the operating and maintenance costs for three decades, which are expected to total $230 million.

Residents voice concern

The meeting, held Wendesday, was open to the public. A few residents came to raise their own issues about the stadium.

"After the announcement on Saturday, couldn't this have waited for next month or September?" said Greg Hanwell, one of the owners of the downtown business Beer Bros. "For the opportunity for the public to have a little discussion and a little input then. I was disappeared to hear public consultations will adhere in the future ... on what, the colour of the seats? Everything seems to have been decided already."

City council votes on the memorendum Monday.