Government alters course on grants-in-lieu

The provincial government is changing course on a recent decision to cancel the grants-in-lieu program.

On Friday, Minister of Government Relations Donna Harpauer said they would cap the funding decrease so that no city would lose more than 30 per cent of its budget. As a result, nine municipalities, including Prince Albert, will retain a portion of their grants-in-lieu payments from SaskPower and SaskEnergy.

“After discussions with SUMA, we felt that it was too much of a burden to put on those municipalities, so we are capping the reduction to ensure that no municipality will see a reduction of more than 30 per cent of their revenue sharing amount,” Harpauer said in a media release.

Capping municipal losses will cost the government an additional $3 million in revenue.

Harpauer added that the reduction is only a one-year measure, and that the government plans to meet with SUMA and SARM to discuss further funding changes in the future.

The change gives the City of Prince Albert an additional $400,000 to work with, but total grants-in-lieu losses will still be around $2 million.

Prince Albert Mayor Greg Dionne said he was encouraged by the decision, but not content.

“Am I happy with the move? Yes. Am I satisfied? No, but at least they have moved a little,” Dionne said. “We will continue over the next four to five months to talk to the government.”

For the rest of this story, please see the April 1 online or print edition of the Daily Herald.