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Taxpayer advocate questions Regina council meeting held on short notice
Published Monday, September 19, 2016 6:35PM CST
Under the Cities Act, city council can call a meeting with 24-hours’ notice for certain circumstances. On Monday morning Regina’s city council exercised their right to do so.
Council voted on whether they should accept federal and provincial money for two infrastructure projects. Councillors unanimously voted to receive money for upgrades to public transit and the McCarthy Boulevard pumping station.
“The provincial minister said to me we look forward to your resolution on Monday… because they need that,” said Regina Mayor Michael Fougere.
“I make no apologies for calling this council meeting.”
The money will go towards upgrading the McCarthy Boulevard pumping station and adding 17 new buses and nine paratransit buses.
The federal government is giving $13.7 million while the provincial and city are contributing $6.8 million for the pumping station. The federal government and the city are also contributing $8.6 million toward public transit.
But Fougere had hoped the provincial government would also help with the transit project.
“Paratransit was a program they created,” said Fougere. “Transit is just as important for infrastructure to our city as waste water. It's building out city, building out capacity for our city.”
The provincial government says it does help the city by contributing $42 million a year in the budget.
“We count on city councils and administrators to make good use of that money,” said Keith Comstock, assistant deputy minister of Government Relations.
“It's unconditional and they use that money in support of whatever service or operations they need to do within their own jurisdictions.”
The decision to call this meeting upset some Regina residents.
"We're spending tens of millions of dollars all of a sudden with literally 24-hours’ notice to the public if you can't consider that a spending spree to basically, what I consider, to buy votes-- what can you,” said taxpayer advocate Chad Novak.