Mayor Aalbers is going over his wishlist for the Alberta election. Aalbers says the municipality of Lloydminster has three major concerns to present to candidates and parties in the running this year.
One of those concerns is a stable municipal funding arrangement. Alberta’s Municipal Stability Initiative provides funding to municipalities, and Aalbers wants to see a stable formula for that funding. He says that something predictable would be ideal over grants or fluctuating amounts that change from year to year.
“We need to look from the government a stable formula that ensures the city can plan for the future, with a kind of expectation,” says Aalbers.
Second, the city wants to see revenue sharing from cannabis sales. Aalbers says that initially there was an agreement between the federal and provincial governments to share 25% of cannabis revenue with municipalities. He wants to remind candidates and parties hoping to form government that there’s a commitment to cover cannabis-related expenses, which he expects there will only be more of.
“We are responsible for a municipal policing contract with the RCMP, and we have to put in whatever equipment they require at the taxpayers’ cost to this city, and those vehicles at the detachment. That will come with a cost, and the expectation was that would come from the revenue sharing provincial and federal governments agreed to.”
The third item on the wishlist is around policing. While there is a stable funding relationship, Aalbers wants to see a stable and long-term commitment between the province and the municipality. He says that most people don’t realize how much the city pays into policing costs. Aalbers hopes that those expenses may go down and expects appropriate funding to tackle them.
“We expect that there are continuous and increasing costs of policing, but that funding arrangement from the province is critical.”
Aalbers also admits there were a number of costs associated with cannabis legalization. Paying for staff to research and form bylaws that fit within the Lloydminster charter and for the legal team to review those bylaws and ensure that they pass. He also expects that preparing the RCMP with appropriate cannabis enforcement equipment, such as impairment detection devices, will be costly.