WHERE IT ALL STARTS.
Canada’s municipalities own or manage nearly 60% of Canada’s infrastructure, yet gather less than 10% of the taxes paid by Canadians. As a result, municipalities across Canada and in Alberta rely on provincial and federal funding support for a large proportion of their budgets.
In Alberta, provincial funding of municipalities comes through a variety of grant programs, many of which vary from year to year.
Since 2007, municipalities in Alberta have received an important grant known as the Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI), but this program is nearing its completion and municipalities are back at the table to work with the Government of Alberta to negotiate a future municipal funding agreement to replace MSI.
For the past decade, municipalities have used their MSI funding for a wide variety of project types such as roads and bridges, transit, water / wastewater, recreation facilities, and many other capital projects that support the provision of core municipal services. For this essential work to continue, municipalities need a deal that is predictable, long-term, responsive, and adequate.
Municipalities provide the services that Albertans most directly interact with. It is essential that municipalities have long-term, adequate, predictable, and responsive funding so that they can provide these services in the most efficient and effective manner.
Supporting effective financial planning through predictable and long-term funding to municipalities ultimately saves the provincial government – and by extension, all Albertans – money and supports the consistent delivery of quality municipal services.
Municipalities need a funding arrangement that is long-term, adequate, predictable, and responsive. The Government of Alberta must work with the RMA to ensure the voices of Alberta’s rural municipalities are at the table, and that the unique nature of rural municipalities are reflected in municipal funding programs. This includes considerations for the vast geography and low population density which characterizes Alberta’s rural municipalities.