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New Alberta Municipalities president reiterates name for $1-billion infrastructure funding increase from the province

With few income sources past property taxes and licensing charges, municipalities say the funding shortfall from the province leaves them with few choices

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The group that represents 265 municipalities throughout Alberta closed its annual conference in Edmonton Friday with newly-elected president Tyler Gandam reiterating its $1-billion ask of the province for extra infrastructure funding.

Alberta Municipalities delegates voted overwhelmingly Thursday to name on the UCP authorities to extend the native authorities fiscal framework (LGFF) from its present $722 million as much as $1.75 billion.

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Gandam echoed these sentiments in a query to Premier Danielle Smith Friday, saying that decision was “one that stands out in my thoughts.”

“I’m not on the lookout for reply,” he mentioned to Smith. “I’m simply letting you recognize that is going to be one thing we’re going to be engaged on.”

ABmunis claims the province’s spending on native infrastructure has dropped from 3.7 per cent of whole spending a decade in the past to only 1 per cent, leaving municipalities with $1.3 billion much less funding in neighborhood infrastructure every year.

With few income sources past property taxes and licensing charges, municipalities say the funding shortfall from the province leaves them with few choices.

Smith acknowledged the difficulty saying, “we’ve acquired to discover a option to get extra {dollars} coming by means of so to scale back your property tax burden.”

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She added that she wished to work on a funding mannequin with municipalities for one-time surpluses.

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“I’ve watched it occur many occasions that (the federal government is) very beneficiant (and) enhance the funding when occasions are good. And, then when occasions flip the opposite approach, we requested you to take a fairly large haircut and that places plenty of plenty of additional strain on you.”

Municipal Affairs Minister Ric McIver mentioned LGFF funding can be launched subsequent yr and is tied to provincial income, one thing municipalities have requested for previously. He added that it’s anticipated to develop by 14 per cent the yr after subsequent.

“The system you requested for will begin working for you straight away.”

Wetaskiwin mayor new ABmunis president

Gandam, the mayor of Wetaskiwin in addition to a former firefighter and funeral director, was elected as new ABmunis president with simply over 60 per cent votes solid early Friday, defeating Authorized Mayor Trina Jones and Calgary Coun. Andre Chabot.

“I do know that many people are having a tricky time, and my hope is that I can help you as you navigate this very attention-grabbing time,” he informed delegates in his pre-vote speech.

Tyler Gandam
Metropolis of Wetaskiwin Mayor Tyler Gandam was elected as new president of Alberta Municipalities on Sept. 29, 2023.

Gandam, who will serve a two-year time period, is the second straight ABmunis president from the Edmonton space, succeeding St. Albert Mayor Cathy Heron.

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Delegates additionally heard Friday from Opposition chief Rachel Notley, who started her speech by attacking the federal government’s potential Alberta pension plan and calling on Smith to raised fund municipalities.

“The federal government is reporting a surplus, so I imagine it’s the good time to be have a face-to-face negotiation … about what our unimaginable cities, cities and villages have to proceed thriving.”

She added {that a} resolution about her political future stays pending and he or she is “nonetheless fascinated about what’s subsequent.”

No plans for events

Delegates voted on resolutions on Thursday, together with two strongly-supported motions calling on the province to take steps to dam political events coming into municipal politics.

Smith mentioned Friday her authorities is consulting on introducing events on the native degree in addition to doubtlessly having run-off elections in sure races, citing low voter turnout in municipal elections, saying she discovered it “slightly irritating.”

“We wish to attempt to discover a option to help you, give transparency … if we are able to discover a get together system that you simply’re amenable to,” she mentioned, including any native events wouldn’t be offsprings of current provincial or federal events.

Earlier within the week, delegates expressed wariness of bringing get together politics in municipal authorities, noting low public help and want of most native politicians to stay non-partisan.

The 2024 ABmunis conference is scheduled for subsequent September in Crimson Deer.

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