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Regina city council approves central library debt financing

Regina city council has approved new funding for the Regina Public Library (RPL) and their quest to build a new central branch.

City council agreed to commit between $92 million and $119 million in debt financing on behalf of the RPL as part of the capital costs of the Central Library Renewal project.

With the vote in favour, the library mill rate will increase by 5.5 per cent each year over five years. The increase amounts to 92 cents per month for an average Regina homeowner.

The debate was a lengthy one with some members on council recommending they push the decision to the fall so they could determine how the city will finance it alongside it’s other projects.

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Councilors were heated with mixed opinions with some wanting it approved and others saying it’s fiscally irresponsible and there are more important things to focus on like the city’s waste water management.

“We have libraries all over Regina,” Ward 4 councillor Lori Bresciani said. “The central library is not the only library… this is fiscally irresponsible. We have water and wastewater our residents deserve and need to have.”

“Our city deserves this,” Ward 2 councilor Bob Hawkins said. “Our children and our grandchildren deserve this.”

The motion to increase funding passed after a 4-3 vote, with Mayor Sandra Masters, councillors Hawkins, John Findura and Jason Mancinelli voting in favour and councillors Bresciani, Terina Nelson and Cheryl Stadnichuk voting against.

The approval allows RPL to move forward with planning and designing possible structures, or to seek moving into a new building.

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