Written by Drew Medve
Cities, towns and villages are in store for record revenue sharing amounts from the provincial government in 2016.
$271 million will be divided across the province, with cities taking up nearly 48 percent of the funding ($130 million) while the rest is split amongst rural ($76.6 million), towns and villages ($44.3 million) and northern ($20.2 million) locations.
Gull Lake will be receiving over $228,000 this year, which Mayor Blake Campbell says will make up 10-12 percent of the town’s total revenue, making the funding crucial to operating budgets for the town.
“I think for Gull Lake or any municipality it is important. It’s an integral part of our operating revenue as it stands now. To have that pulled out of the equation for any reason would certainly have negative impacts on any community including Gull Lake. $228,000 to a small community like Gull Lake is a good chunk of change for us.”
The town of 1,000 will see about $5,000 additional dollars compared to 2015. Campbell says he acknowledges the funding is determined by the health of the province’s finances as a whole.
“If the economy is doing well we’ll get more, a downturn we could get less. It does offer stable funding, otherwise the question would be what would we do without it. In a town like Gull Lake a $228,000 budget shortfall obviously would create challenges making ends meet, and may have to look at raising taxes. With every community and in terms of infrastructure needs, just to maintain what you have costs money.”
Campbell says streets and sidewalks alone could take up all money alloted to the town this year.
“We already have a program that we’re trying to do some streets. We have a base tax that we collect every year and that goes towards paving but even that won’t be enough over time. Down the road we’re going to need more. Hopefully when infrastructure funding comes out from the federal government municipalities are able to take advantage and help with some of these needs. Maintaining these things as they age is getting expensive, regardless if you’re a town or village or city. It is all the same infrastructure, it is all aging and we’re all having the same problems.”