WHEREAS the 2001 report by the AAMDC Advisory Committee on Targeted Investment recommended that at least $6 million should be allocated annually to needy rural municipalities, and to date special payments from the Province have amounted to a maximum of $2.1 million annually;AND WHEREAS some seven years have passed since the demise of the Municipal Assistance Grant, and the Province is now in a very strong fiscal position and is capable of fully funding the targeted investment program;AND WHEREAS municipal councils in numerous communities have taken considerable steps to rationalize expenditures and share services on a regional basis where practical, and in spite of these initiatives fiscal pressures continue to be severe;AND WHEREAS in addition to the infrastructure needs in the rural part of all municipalities in relation to population, significant investment in water treatment, sewage pumping stations and lagoons continues to be required on an annual basis, primarily in the small hamlets to bring utility systems up to an acceptable standard;AND WHEREAS the infrastructure deficit in these fiscally challenged communities is growing at an even faster rate than other fiscally more stable communities, and these ongoing fiscal inequities need to be addressed to provide a reasonable quality of life for the residents of the needy rural municipalities and address ongoing infrastructure concerns;AND WHEREAS funding the Targeted Investment Program to an appropriate level is critical to address the more severe fiscal pressures in the 18 needy rural municipalities currently identified by the Province, and will do so in a manner that is not at the expense of other municipalities;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties request the Government of Alberta to fully fund the Targeted Investment Program, commencing in the 2005/2006 fiscal year for the needy rural municipalities, as defined by the program criteria, in order to address the extreme fiscal pressures in these rural communities.
In 2001 the AAMDC adopted a very proactive position on targeted investment to address the fiscal inequities of needy rural municipalities characterized by:1. Revenue generation abilities are limited by the size of the local assessment base in comparison to the local population and the local road network.2. Local ratepayers pay a higher than average tax rate in order to support the cost of municipal services.Also a number of these rural municipalities have had to assume the responsibility for the roads, water and sewer infrastructure for a number of hamlets that dissolved primarily because of no longer being able to survive fiscally.In the case of the County of Thorhild as an example, the funding model recommended an annual payment from the Province in excess of $450,000 in 2001 dollars. To date the largest special contribution that has been received from the Province to address our limited fiscal capacity has been $156,000 in any fiscal year. Although this funding is very much appreciated, it is less than 35% of the level recommended back in 2001. In light of the ongoing fiscal challenges faced by the needy rural municipalities, the County supports an allocation in line with the report recommendation.