City of Regina requests debt limit increase

City of Regina requests debt limit increase
City of Regina requests debt limit increase

The City of Regina is preparing to file a request with the Saskatchewan Municipal Board (SMB) to increase its debt ceiling.

According to the administration, Regina’s maximum allowable debt is $660 million. However, with several projects requiring debt to proceed, only $299 million remains available for use.

“We still have to fund the water park and a number of other things,” City Manager Niki Anderson reminded the executive committee on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, council approved the use of debt financing of between $92 million and $119 million to enable the Regina Public Library to commence the Central Library Renovation Project.

On Wednesday, the Executive Committee explored the possibility of using at least $100 million in debt to pay for the expansion of Regina’s water network.

The project should ensure that there is sufficient water pressure in all parts of the city.

“It’s more about prioritizing excellent work,” Anderson said. “And looking at different ways to fund it.”

The council has prioritised seven major capital projects in its latest budget, five of which are already planned to use debt financing.

This includes the expansion of the water network, a new indoor swimming pool, a sewage treatment plant, the central library renovation project and many remaining unfunded service agreement costs.

Two other projects, the multifunctional events centre and the relocation of the Ringweg railway line, have also still not received funding.

The total cost for all seven projects is $722 million, which is $423 million more than the city’s allowable debt limit.

“I’m not sure what the alternative is,” said Ward 4 Councilwoman Lori Bresciani. “We’ve dug ourselves into a hole.”

“I don’t think this is the way to run a city,” she added.

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The city must ask the SMB for permission to increase its debt limit.

In August 2023, the government filed a request to increase the debt limit to more than $800 million. The SMB denied the request and asked the city to resubmit.

In January of this year, the debt limit of $660 million was approved.

The main source of income for debt service is property taxes. Any potential increases for residents will not be final until a budget proposal is presented in the fall.

– More details to follow.