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‘Won’t make or break the city’: Sask. municipalities see funding increase

The government of Saskatchewan has announced an increase to municipal funding, however, Lloydminster won’t see much of a difference. Premier Scott Moe announced that Saskatchewan municipalities will see an overall funding increase of more than $10 million for 2019-20.

The announcement was made to the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA) at their annual general meeting. This brings the total amount to $251 million next fiscal year for the municipal revenue sharing program. Mayor Gerald Aalbers was present representing the Saskatchewan residents of Lloydminster. Excluding the Alberta side of the city, Aalbers represented only about 11,000 residents.

“It certainly means an increase. It amounts to about 4 per cent, which is the number the government has given to municipalities. Our funding is based on approximately 11,000 Saskatchewan residents, so basically we can expect up to 4 per cent,” says Aalbers. He adds that further details around the announcement make it unclear if the city will see a full 4 per cent increase.

Aalbers says some of the ten million going into municipal revenue sharing, and $1.5 million, will be taken into separate funds that will be managed jointly between urban municipalities, rural municipalities and the government of Saskatchewan. Municipal partners co-manage this allocation to invest in initiatives that support good governance, capacity building and regional planning.

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“So I don’t know if we’re going to see a full four per cent funding increase from Saskatchewan reaching the city. It’s at least two, and somewhat better than that. We’re always happy to see an increase, it’s somewhere between two and four per cent but I don’t have the exact number yet.”

The number amounts to about $100,000 in additional grant money. It can be used to invest in services, infrastructure and other civic prerogatives. But with a municipal budget of $80 million, it certainly won’t make or break the city.

“Certainly, all support from two provincial governments is appreciated. But in this case, because Saskatchewan is a smaller portion of the city, it certainly isn’t felt as much if it was from the Alberta government.”

City administration will be presenting city council with information about the increased funding and information from the SUMA convention. The 2019 budget has already been made meaning it may be set aside for unforeseen circumstances or challenges. Ultimately, city council will decide on what to do with any extra money available to the city.

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