Town of Council will have to deal with significant financial challenges this year with Provincial Government cuts to revenue sharing and grant-in-lieu of taxes. While Council was expecting a drop in revenue sharing, we were not expecting to lose the grants-in-lieu of taxes. This fiscal year the Town will lose $4,407.00 from a drop in Provincial Revenue Sharing, and $26,868.00 in grant-in-lieu of taxes. The combined loss of Provincial Funding this year received by the town will be $31,275.00.
Earlier this year, the Ministry of the Enviroment (MOE) informed Council a decision regarding how waste is disposed of at the landfill. The current method of digging trenches is no longer allowed. Council had to make a choice between constructing future engineered trenches or a transfer station to handle waste disposal at the landfill. The most cost effective decision for the Town will be to construct a transfer station. Council hoped to extend the life of the present trench to allow a reasonable timeframe to raise the funds needed to make the change. A request was made to the MOE to allow the town to finish filling the current trench before making the move to a transfer station. The request was denied, and Council will have to transition to a transfer station next year. Based on conversations we have had with similar-sized communities as ours the costs to transition will be in the neighborhood of $130,000.00.
The cuts in Provincial Funding, transitioning required at the Landfill and the Clarendon Hotel Cleanup will make the 2017 budget a significant challenge. Council will be finalizing our Strategic Plan and 2017 budget in the near future. All options will be fully explored as to how we will deal with the significant financial challenges facing our community. We will update residents with more information as it becomes available.
Saskatchewan hometowns are reeling this week as the reality of the provincial budget continues to sink in. The 2017 provincial budget stripped $36 million of payments in lieu from Saskatchewan’s urban municipalities — a move that the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA) is calling on the provincial government to reverse.
“We expected last week’s provincial budget to be tough, but nothing prepared us for the crisis some of our members now face,” SUMA President Gordon Barnhart said. “The province has eliminated $36 million in funding from more than 100 hometowns without consultation after most municipalities’ budgets have already been finalized. Many councils will need to hike property taxes to stay in the black.”
Source: Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association
A message for all Chinook Regional Library users:
As you may have heard by now, the current provincial budget presented on 22 March 2017 has resulted in significant cutbacks to regional library funding throughout Saskatchewan. We are very disappointed that Education Minister Don Morgan has cut about 60% of the provincial funding to our region, and at this time, we are uncertain what will become of our 32 rural public libraries and 14 corner libraries in Southwestern Saskatchewan.
The small rural communities throughout our region depend on our public libraries for Internet access to online banking, as well as access to online government services and for submitting online job application to businesses.
In addition, we provide a variety of inclusive programs and learning opportunities for all ages and abilities in our library facilities. Last year in the Chinook region, we circulated almost 300,000 items, issued 1,200 new library cards, and 664 local children read 8,000 books and participated in 92 free library event with the TD summer reading club. None of this would have been possible without the “brick and mortar libraries” that Minister Don Morgan thinks the current government should no longer support.
On behalf of the more than 100 employees of Chinook Regional Library, we encourage you to contact your local town council and your local MLAs, to let them know how much you value saving your rural library services. Information regarding local MLAs is available online: http://www.legassembly.sk.ca/mlas/current-mlas-print-version or alternatively, please contact us directly and we will forward your concerns to the Provincial Librarian.
Dr. Jean McKendry,
Director, Chinook Regional Library
Source: Chinook Regional Library