As we mentioned last week, work continues on outcomes from last month’s President’s Summit on Municipal Finances. The primary conclusion of the event was that building a stronger provincial-municipal partnership is key to restoring the Alberta Advantage. As such, AUMA has sent a letter and submission to the Premier, copying the Ministers of Municipal Affairs and Treasury Board and Finance, requesting a renewed partnership.
This partnership should be based on our common goal of getting Alberta back to work through strategic coordinated investments. Partnership also must be based on mutual respect, since both the province and municipalities are accountable to Alberta voters.
In addition to a renewed partnership, there are some key topics that need to be addressed ahead of the next provincial budget and legislative session, such as:
- Municipal governments cannot absorb any further cutbacks or additional costs without significantly increasing taxes or cutting back essential services.
- Planned reductions to the Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) must be revisited and a strategy developed to ensure that stranded federal infrastructure funding starts flowing back to Alberta communities.
- The Budget 2019 Fiscal Plan identified that the education tax requisition will be increasing by approximately four per cent, starting in 2020-21. This imposition to property tax ratepayers is planned for the same time as a freeze in provincial education spending. This planned year-over-year tax increase is unacceptable to municipalities and ratepayers.
Economic development is the top priority for municipalities, who all share the provincial government’s objective to get Alberta back to work. Together, we must leverage our scarce resources to maintain infrastructure and preventative social services. Without thoughtful investments, our communities will not be able to attract and retain businesses and talent.
We have requested a meeting with the Premier to further highlight that municipalities have done all they can to absorb the funding cuts and cost increases.
Keep watching Digest and our social media accounts in the coming weeks for further outcomes from the President’s Summit. Video highlights of President’s Summit panel discussions are coming soon to our YouTube channel. Watch highlights from our first industry partner panel here.