Sask. government increasing municipal revenue sharing by $10M

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WATCH ABOVE: Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe announced an additional $10 million for the municipal revenue sharing program at SUMA’s general meeting in Saskatoon. Rebekah Lesko reports – Feb 4, 2019

The Saskatchewan government is increasing revenue sharing to municipalities by over $10 million in 2019-20.

Premier Scott Moe made the announcement Monday at the annual general meeting of the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA) taking place in Saskatoon.

READ MORE: Sask. municipal revenue sharing changes possible in upcoming provincial budget

The additional funding represents a four per cent increase over the current fiscal year, bringing the total amount to $251 million.

“Municipalities across Saskatchewan will continue to have a consistent source of unconditional provincial revenue to invest in their local priorities,” Moe said in a press release.

“The adjusted revenue sharing formula recognizes our current fiscal reality, evolves this key provincial program, and retains the fundamental qualities of predictability, sustainability and transparency.”

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Government officials said the municipal revenue sharing formula will now be based on three-quarters of one point of the provincial sales tax (PST) revenue from the previous two fiscal years.

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The new formula resulted from a review of the program and consultation with municipal stakeholders which started in 2018.

“Through extensive consultation with the government, we believe the adjustments to this program will be a benefit to all of our members,” SUMA president Gordon Barnhart said in a press release.

“We are also happy to see the continued commitment to stable and predictable funding, something that our municipalities appreciate and count on.”

“We’re very pleased that the formula is now in place and we have predictability and transparency, which is really important for us,” Regina Mayor Michael Fougere said.

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The revenue sharing formula was previously based on one point of PST revenue.

In the 2017-18 budget, PST was increased from five to six per cent, and was expanded to include purchases such as children’s clothing, restaurant meals and construction services.

“Of course, we would love to have one point of that PST,” Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark said.

Clark said the money is important to support growth, as 7,000 people moved to Saskatoon last year. He said the funding is also important to help tackle complex issues such as crystal meth, addictions and deteriorating infrastructure in the community.

“Every dollar that we’re going to get from revenue sharing, we’re going to put to good use and there’s a lot of pressures on us to keep up with these demands. What I’m glad to see is it didn’t go down and there’s going to be some growth.”

Government officials said the program will also see $1.5 million from the total municipal revenue sharing amount co-managed with municipal partners to invest in initiatives that support good governance, capacity building and regional planning.

-With files from Rebekah Lesko 

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