Local towns, villages, municipalities to benefit from increased funding

  • Feb. 23, 2010 1:00 p.m.

Staff

Thanks to a boost of $247 million over last year, towns, villages and municipalities throughout the area will see some major improvements over the next year.

The additional funding is part of the provincial government’s Budget 2010 announced earlier this month. The Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI was introduced in 2007.

For Rimbey, the increase will see $625,509 added to the coffers, up from $295,489 from last year, while Bentley’s share rose to $340,064 from $143,379 in 2009.

“Certainly it’s a sizable amount of money and as municipalities, it’s more money from provincial support than we’ve seen over a number of years, however it is a reduction for this year because of the government putting programs together and rolling them over into one,” said Mayor Dale Barr.

“As a financial impact to the community, the Alberta Municipal Infrastructure Program has been rolled over into MSI, so last year our total revenue from those two programs was around $680,000 so the $625,000 we’re receiving this year is much needed for the community with the major projects we’re taking on,” he added. “We’re glad to see it stay at this level of funding because certainly in the part, the government has spent their dollars in other projects and municipality was out on their own for some of these key infrastructure projects that are very expensive.”

Barr said two key projects with big price tags that were recently undertaken had funding tied to the community’s debt load, including approximately $4.5 million for a new water reservoir and another $44 million for a new sewage lagoon.

“The misconception I don’t want to leave the community with is this hasn’t automatically dumped brand new money into Rimbey. This is actually dollars that we’ve allocated to projects over the tenure of construction needs for our community which will be completed by March 31 of next year, and with that comes a debt load that this money will help reduce so we don’t have to increase taxes or user fees in those areas.”

Other administrative areas receiving additional funding include the village of Parkland Beach, which will see an increase to $106,597 from $38,079 in 2009; Lacombe County, $3,936,877 up from $1,875,153; Ponoka County, $2,729,612 up from $1,243,700: and the County of Wetaskiwin, which will see an increase to $3,117,243 from $1,450,007 last year.

“This program directly supports your community and the local priorities determined by your council,” said Hector Goudreau, minister of municipal affairs. “I’m proud that our government is investing in projects that make communities strong, such as new fire halls, necessary equipment and recreational facilities.”