Mayor Gary Vidal’s said the 2018 provincial budget seems status-quo, especially for municipalities.
The mayor said the budget contained a few things he and council were watching for, like details about municipal revenue sharing, the municipal surcharge from SaskEnergy, and the focus on spending for rural crime.
Meadow Lake will take a small hit in revenue sharing. The city will receive $940,000, down from $1.01 million in 2017-18. The decline didn't come as a surprise to Vidal, he said, as the city took it into account while planning for 2018. He said this year’s number was based on provincial sales tax revenues from 2016.
“We knew the revenue was going to go down,” he said. “When the provincial PST revenue is higher we gain, and when it goes down we lose. We knew that; we budgeted for that; that’s not a surprise to us. We understand there’s going to be some consultation and discussions going forward on how we deal with the municipal revenue sharing in the future.”
When it comes to the SaskEnergy surcharge, the funding was redirected to the province instead of municipalities in the 2017 budget, which Vidal said many communities were shocked by last year. Vidal said he was happy to see the municipalities will be getting some of the funding back, and said he is looking forward to learning more details in the coming days and weeks.
The mayor said the $4.9 million in new funding from SGI, earmarked for enhancements to the province’s rural crime strategy, was a positive investment and should be helpful in Meadow Lake and area.
“Even though we’re a small city, we’re in a rural region,” Vidal said. “These units are positive things for our community, because there’s a greater police presence both for the city, out on the highways, and in the rural areas.”
Editor's Note: This piece was updated at 4:22 p.m. on Wednesday, April 11, 2018 for clarity.
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