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Provinces cut Lloyd’s revenue pie

By March 24, 2022March 31st, 2022No Comments
Mayor Gerald Aalbers. File Photo

 

The City of Lloydminster will have to get by this fiscal year with reduced revenue sharing from the Alberta and Saskatchewan governments.

Saskatchewan is providing $262 million in Municipal Revenue Sharing program funding (MRS) for municipalities in Wednesday’s 2022-23 budget —$13 million less than last year.

Alberta has also reduced its municipal sustainability initiative (MS) in its new 2022-23 budget to $485 million after front-loading the fund to $1.2 billion in 2021 to help municipalities recover from the pandemic.

“We took a haircut as they say on the Alberta side the last two years and have lived with less money,” said Mayor Gerald Aalbers.

The mayor was at the municipal leaders caucus of Alberta  Municipalities (ABmunis) in Edmonton on March 9-10 when Premier Jason Kenney was asked to restore funding levels.

“He indicated at this time they are not prepared to do that,” said Aalbers.

He says Saskatchewan municipalities took a bit of a haircut with the latest MRS funding as well, based on last year’s $275 million fund.

The annual provincial funding is based on three-quarters of one point of the provincial sales tax revenue collected from two years prior.

“It’s not new monies from the Saskatchewan government. It’s been budgeted for and we’ll actually receive slightly less,” said Aalbers.

He says the city will know the exact amount after the budget. 

Aalbers says the funds from both provinces go into the city’s general budget for operations and capital.

At the ABmunis meeting, Kenney told caucus leaders not to ask for more spending money, despite an estimated budget surplus of $511 million due to high oil and gas prices.

“Please don’t ask us to spend surpluses that we do not yet have. Who knows? This may be our last energy boom,” Kenny said.

Aalbers says it was disappointing not to hear of any additional funding for municipalities in the Alberta budget tabled on Feb. 24.

“We’ve heard from the premier. Who knows, we know there’s been programs that come up halfway through (the year),” he said.

Aalbers says he is not holding his breath for additional funding from Saskatchewan either, based on the reduced MRS funding.

“That way, we’ll have less grant funding. If there’s some other opportunities, that would be terrific, but I don’t know about that,” he said.

Aalbers is more optimistic about applying for some of the $1.5 million allocated from the MRS fund for the Targeted Sector Support Initiative that is co-managed by the province and municipal partners in the delivery of services.

The initiative invests in municipal projects advancing priority areas, such as good governance, regional planning, and inter-community collaboration.

“It’s a great program if you can find something that works,” said Aalbers.