Budgets include additional funding for city

City council will have to decide how to spend the additional operating and capital funds allocated to municipalities this week by the provincial and federal governments

Prince Albert city council members debate a proposal during 2018 budget deliberations at City Hall in November 2017. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

Prince Albert city council has a little bit more money to spend.

Announcements made in the federal and provincial budgets this week have increased the city’s portion of revenue sharing and of the gas tax fund.

Wednesday’s provincial budget projected an increase in municipal revenue sharing from the recently-announced new funding formula: 0.75 per cent of one percentage point of PST revenue. For Prince Albert, that equates to about $280,000 in extra operating costs.

Tuesday’s federal budget included a surprise one-time payment of additional gas tax funds. That money covers short-term infrastructure projects. According to Mayor Greg Dionne, that’s an extra $2.6 million in funds the city is now eligible for.

‘That is a big, pleasant surprise,” Dionne said.

“It will give us some more options to get some projects done we didn’t do during the budget process. It will be interesting moving forward to see what we do with it.”

Dionne hadn’t had much of a chance to dig further into the federal budget and what it might mean for the city, but he was in Regina for the provincial announcement. He described the document as “positive” for the city and said there were no surprises. The only worry he had going in was that taxes would increase. Other than instituting a new tax credit for volunteer firefighters and first responders and removing some potash exemptions, there were no tax changes in the provincial document.

“There are no increases in any kind of taxes or fees,” Dionne said. With that, we’re very pleased.”

The mayor credited Premier Scott Moe, who is from Shellbrook, with increasing engagement with city officials and reducing the chance of any budget surprises.

“We have a great relationship with the government,” he said.

‘We’ve had great exchanges and great meetings, especially now that we have a premier from the north. We’ve probably had more meetings with the government that we ever have in our history. It’s a great relationship.”