Alberta Budget 2020: What does it mean for rural Albertans and smaller municipalities?

Alberta budget 2020: Everything you need to know in 1 minute
WATCH ABOVE: The 2020 Alberta budget was tabled Thursday afternoon. Here is everything you need to know in less than one minute.

In its second provincial budget, the United Conservative government stuck to its plan to reduce spending and create jobs, while stressing its case to the federal government for a “Fair Deal for Alberta.”

Budget 2020 cuts operating expenses by about 2.5 per cent over three years. Alberta is left with an overall debt of just under $88 billion by 2022.

READ MORE: Alberta budget 2020 mired in red ink, but government to put ‘even finer focus on job creation’

Here’s a look at how some of the changes (and previously announced budget decisions) affect rural Albertans and smaller municipalities:

Rural policing

The UCP previously announced changes to how policing is funded in Alberta municipalities with populations smaller than 5,000. While the largest cities rely on municipal police forces, the rest of the province relies on RCMP. Larger municipalities have already been paying for policing.

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Budget 2020 implements a new funding model that sees small and rural communities pay a portion of their policing costs.

Over five years, the new system will add 300 more officers and 200 civilian members. The cost of $286 million will be paid for by smaller municipalities, which can expect to shoulder about $22 million this year.

Alberta municipalities to pay portion of cost for extra policing
Alberta municipalities to pay portion of cost for extra policing

READ MORE: Alberta Budget 2020: What does it mean for Edmonton?

Victims of Crime

The justice ministry will expand the Victims of Crime Fund to include “public safety priorities” with an additional $17 million this year. A ministry spokesperson said details are still being worked out on this initiative and stakeholders will be consulted but that it would focus on preventing people from being victimized by crime. It will include crime-prevention and enforcement projects. The budget says the fund’s financial benefits program will be replaced with a service-based program, but provides no specifics.

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READ MORE: Highlights from Alberta budget 2020

QEII and 40 Avenue Interim Ramp (near Airdrie)

A new road project included in the budget will see $10 million spent on an interim ramp on Highway 2 and 40 Avenue near Airdrie. The money will be spent over this fiscal year and next.

READ MORE: Alberta Budget 2020: What does it mean for Calgary?

School boards’ ‘own-source/reserve’ funds

Budget 2020 ups education spending by $100 million this school year, but the increase comes from school boards’ “own-source/reserve” funding. The government said that could include school fees, facility rentals, other sources and savings.

“School jurisdictions use their own-source revenue and reserves as the government transitions to a new K-12 Funding and Assurance Model to better manage system growth, ensure funds are directed to the classroom, and provide all jurisdictions with sustainable and predictable funding.”

No details were provided on the new model.

Notley says budget deficit ‘does not inspire confidence’
Notley says budget deficit ‘does not inspire confidence’