City council opened on Monday night with a presentation from the Saskatchewan Assessment Management Agency (SAMA).
For the first time since 1993, SAMA conducted a total reassessment and inspection of every property in the City of Estevan, and presented their results to council.
"They revalued every property in the City of Estevan, that's why they're two months behind," explained Estevan Mayor, Roy Ludwig. "They feel as a result, that the values they have given for each property will be a lot closer to the real value of what your house is worth. People who are unhappy can come to council and appeal on Wednesday and Thursday of this week if they think it doesn't make sense."
"Last year was reassessment based on 2015 numbers. So at the end there was still a boom going on and that's why some of the properties taxes doubled. We have talked to the province, and we're going to get our MLA back to see if we can get the province to stop the swings at 30%. So instead of your property doubling or even more than that, it would stop at 30% which would be a lot easier to manage financially."
After years of no increases, residents were hit last year with a jump in property taxes and moving forward into the future, the city will look to make much smaller increases.
"Coming out of budget we had said that we would have a tax increase and keep it low this year," Ludwig said. "We would keep it at one percent and we're still holding firm on that commitment, so we will be looking at a one percent tax increase in 2018."
"The reason we do incremental increases is the fact for 10-12 years we had no increases which was wrong. Now we did the necessary increases we had to do which was unpalatable, but I think our community understood they had to be done simply because we had gone too long without the proper increases. Now we're at that point that if we watch our P's and Q's and stay within our budget, we should be able to move forward with minimum increases."
Other news and notes from council saw the health levy stay the same, but will see money dispersed differently moving forward. $150,000 will be used to recruit physicians to the community, while $140,000 will go to the new Estevan Regional Nursing Home committee.
Construction will begin next week on the east end of King Street, and is expected to be completed by the end of July. Chamney Crushing was awarded the tender.
The city also signed a new three-year contract with Green For Life Environmental, regarding solid waste and recycling pick up.