Alberta NDP voices concern over municipal funding

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Alberta NDP voices concern over MSI funding
WATCH ABOVE: The NDP said Monday the Alberta government is looking to cut back on Municipal Sustainability Funding. As Quinn Campbell reports, the NDP said that would leave many regions short millions more provincial dollars, including Lethbridge – Feb 24, 2020

The NDP says municipalities in Alberta will experience a major slash to funding. During an announcement in Edmonton on Monday morning, Rachel Notely said the UCP plans to cut Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) funding and reduce the amount of money the province will give municipalities for Grants in Place of Taxes (GIPOT).

It’s a concern Lethbridge-West MLA Shannon Phillips echoed.

“What that means for ordinary people is that each municipality — depending on if they are big or small and what their makeup is — will be short anywhere from a few hundred dollars per person or per family, or over $1,000 per family.”

Phillips said it will be the residents in rural communities and cities like Lethbridge that have to shoulder the cuts.

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“That shortfall will have to be made up through a combination of property tax increases, service cuts or fee increases, or some combination of those three things. There is no way around it.”

The City of Lethbridge said, based on the information it was provided by the province last October, it expects to see a reduction of around $2 million in MSI capital in 2020 and another $3 million in 2021.

The city said, as for the Grants in Place of Taxes funding, it estimates a reduction of around $520,000 in 2020 and the same in 2021.

The mayor said they won’t know for sure until the provincial budget is revealed.

“It’s probably going to take us a few days to review after Thursday’s budget to see what the impacts are and we want to be clear about how much funding is coming to the City of Lethbridge.”

Global News reached out to the ministry of municipal affairs for a comment but had not heard back by publishing time.

The NDP said it’s now calling on the government to release a municipality-by-municipality breakdown of the full cost to property taxpayers.


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