More money for municipalities

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe has announced an additional $10 million for towns and cities will be part of his government’s upcoming budget.

The announcement was made Monday at the annual conference of the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association, where it was also noted the increase will bring revenue sharing with municipalities to $251 million in fiscal 2019-20.

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Yorkton Mayor Bob Maloney told Yorkton This Week Monday evening that the announcement was unexpected in his mind.

“I was surprised and pleased to see it,” he said.

The $10 million represents a four per cent hike in the revenue sharing pool, which will be spread across the province. Maloney said $1.5million of the new money is earmarked for northern communities and some unspecified rural area projects.

The remaining $8.5 million gets spread to municipalities.

In terms of dollars to Yorkton, “it’s not going to mean a whole lot,” said Maloney, adding it will not be enough to fund any major mew projects, “but still it’s an increase.”

The government attributes the increase to a recalculation of its revenue-sharing formula, which was reviewed last year.

The formula has been reduced to three-quarters of a point of the six per cent provincial sales tax. But more items such as children's clothing and restaurant meals are no longer exempt so the tax base is broader.

Maloney said the other positive news coming from Premier Moe was that the upcoming budget will be balanced, which he said was again viewed as positive, and rather unexpected.

The SUMA convention, which is being held in Saskatoon, runs until Wednesday.

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