Sunday, October 15, 2006

“I treat each dollar like it is coming out of my own pocket.” – Don Atchison, SP September 23, 1997

(l-r) Conservative Party MP Carol Skelton, Saskatchewan Party MLA Ted Merriman and Saskatoon Mayor Don Atchison at the 2003 MP Christmas Open House in Saskatoon.

“Saskatoon taxpayers want a leader who will hold the line on tax spending.”
(Don Atchison 2003 campaign flyer)

“A goal is something you want to aim for. A promise means I’m going to be able to fulfill that promise to you…I was careful never to use the word promise.”
(Mayor Don Atchison StarPhoenix March 12, 2005)

“This is not a tax and spend council….The glitzy, flashy projects, we’re still working on that. This is what’s required today to keep the city of Saskatoon functioning and still address some of the needs in the community.”
(Mayor Don Atchison StarPhoenix November 26, 2004)

‘Some councillors’ eagerness to add projects to the (2004) capital budget drew a stern rebuke from Atchison. “This isn’t our money. It’s taxpayers’ dollars….It’s not being prudent to say, ‘We have $630,000 here, let’s go spend it.’”
(Mayor Don Atchison StarPhoenix December 11, 2003)

Don Atchison’s 2003 election promise of a tax freeze was widely reported in the media. The tax freeze never happened. In fact, taxes have risen in every year of Atchison’s term as mayor. The 2004 and 2005 mill rate increases are among the highest this decade.

Mill Rate Increases
1999 – 1.49%
2000 – 0.98%
2001 – 3.80%
2002 – 1.53%
2003 – 2.70%
2004 – 3.24%
2005 – 3.94%
2006 – 1.86%
Source: City of Saskatoon Annual Reports; City Comptrollers Office.

Since the 2003 civic election Saskatoon city council has approved record breaking levels of spending. The city’s capital and operating budgets have risen 173.8% and 17.1% respectively.

2003 – $182,497,700 (Operating) $68,680,000 (Capital)
2004 – $192,799,800 (Operating) $100,913,000 (Capital)
2005 – $200,990,500 (Operating) $165,625,000 (Capital)
2006 – $213,715,100 (Operating) $188,051,000 (Capital)
Source: City of Saskatoon 2003-2006 Approved Capital and Operating Budgets.

At the June 13, 2005, city council meeting Mayor Don Atchison supported a 57% pay raise for city councillors.


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