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The City of Regina said it is operating in an “environment of continued uncertainty” as it prepares to present its 2021 budget in March.

City Administration presented a budget update at an Executive Committee meeting on Wednesday morning.

Heading into budget deliberations, the city is projecting a $6.6 million increase in expenditures for 2021 and a $2.3 million revenue increase. This leaves a gap of $4.3 million in spending.

Through $7.5 million in additional financial pressures and another $12 million lost due to the impact of COVID-19, administration expects a total $19.5 million gap between expenditures and revenues in 2021.

Administration proposed using $2.5 million in capital funding carrying forward from 2020 and $12 million from the COVID-19 Reserve to remedy a portion of the funding gap.

The COVID-19 Recovery Reserve was established by council in December.

Administration also has plans to address the remaining $5 million funding gap through cost saving measures.

The city mill rate is expected to rise by at least 2.35 per cent, including a 0.95 per cent increase due to stadium and recreation infrastructure program costs, and a 1.4 per cent increase for the Regina Police Service. However, administration said it is projecting no additional increase in the mill rate due to civic operations.

The executive committee referred the budget update ahead to be released in full in late February-early March.