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Lloydminster mayor says city will work within the provincial budget

Lloydminster city council will have to look at possible changes to their own upcoming budget after funding cuts in the provincial budget.

Premier Jason Kenney released the United Conservatives first full provincial budget on October 24. The budgets showed cuts to several areas and rely on pipelines being built in the next four years to keep spending cuts to a minimum.

The Municipal Sustainability Initiative funding saw drastic cuts in the budget. The grant gives funding for municipal infrastructure projects including road rehabilitation and wastewater treatment funding. The funding will be cut by $94 million in 2020-21 and $142 million in 2021-22.

Mayor Gerald Aalbers says the MSI funding for the wastewater treatment plant is still in place and firm. 

“I’m banking on that and I will take to wherever I have to, to get that money that they’ve already committed. Going forward, it’s going to be challenging for future infrastructure projects in the city. There‘ll be less money and the demand is as great in our city as any other city for work that needs to be done above the road, the road, or below the road.”

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The city received over $2.8 million in MSI funding last year and Aalbers expects to see 9 per cent less funding next year and 13 per cent less the following year. He says the budget presents some challenges but is willing to rise up to them as best he can.

“There are some challenges that will be put before city council in the near future as we move into our budget for the next year. Certainly, I appreciate the government has considered healthcare and education key factors that they’re not reducing the budget in those two departments but on the same token we’re not going to see a lot of increase.”

An area the mayor was grateful that did not see any cuts were for family community and support services, as well as policing grants, were not affected. The FCSS provides funding to non-profit organizations in the city and their programs.

City administration will be looking at the provincial budget as well and factoring it into the city’s budget which is expected to reach the council in the coming months.

“City council is attuned to the conditions that exist within our and at the same token, I have yet to speak to a taxpayer that’s prepared to give up a service they receive. We’ve got some tough decisions to make and we’ll be as fair as we can be.”

Aalbers says they are looking to have a balanced budget which could see services cut or raises in property taxes.

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