With the fiscal year coming to a close, the Alberta government put an additional $400 million towards municipality funding.
On March 6, Municipal Affairs Minister Diana McQueen announced that Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) funding would be raised to $1.6 billion for the 2014/2015 fiscal year, which ends on March 31. Lloydminster’s share of the fund is just over $1.7 million.
“We’re very appreciative of this bump in (funding) at this time, which goes towards our capital projects,” said Lloydminster Mayor Rob Saunders. “Any new money is good money.”
The $1,7 million bonus is on top of the just over $5 million that the city has received for the current budget year. While Saunders says the city is grateful for the increased funding, he is still waiting for the provincial budget to be announced so he knows what to expect for next year.
“The budget announcement for 2015/2016 will be on March 26,” he said. “We’re very appreciative of the MSI funding ... but we’re still anticipating that we’ll see steady MSI funding going forward. So, we have to wait for the budget on the (March) 26 to know where we stand there.”
Saunders said he suspects a political motive behind the unexpected windfall.
“We know the budget is coming forward and there’s a possibility of an election as well. But those things aside, Municipal Affairs has listened and heard from municipalities that we need support financially for our capital projects to support our growth and infrastructure.” he said. “Every dollar more helps us. We have multiple millions of dollars in infrastructure needs so every dollar is very much appreciated.”