Budget Provides Stable Funding for Municipalities and Nearly A Quarter Billion Dollars in Municipal Revenue Sharing
The Government of Saskatchewan’s 2018-19 Budget continues to provide strong, predictable and stable funding for municipalities.
The budget provides $412.9 million of direct provincial support to municipalities including Municipal Revenue Sharing (MRS), as well as funding for municipal infrastructure projects and other community services. MRS remains on track at near record highs. The amount is set based on one point of the Provincial Sales Tax (PST) collected by the government in 2016-17.
Since 2007, MRS has increased from $127 million in 2007-08 to $241 million, an 89.5 per cent increase.
It will be distributed as follows:
- $155.0 million to urban municipalities;
- $68.1 million to rural municipalities; and
- $18.0 million to northern municipalities.
“As our province continues to control spending and meet fiscal challenges, our government’s commitment to municipalities remains clear,” Government Relations Minister Warren Kaeding said. “Virtually no other area of government funding has seen the overall levels of funding increases that municipalities have received through revenue sharing over the past 10 years. Our goal with this budget is to continue to provide stable and predictable revenue sharing to municipalities, while remaining committed to our fiscal plan of returning to balanced budgets by 2019-20.”
As announced at the recent Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association and Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities conventions, in light of the recent expansion of the PST base and the fact that the program is almost 10 years old, government officials will conduct a thorough review of the current MRS program in consultation with their key stakeholders. The government remains committed to providing predictable and stable funding to municipalities.
The 2018-19 Budget includes $123.4 million in provincial support for municipal infrastructure. This includes:
- $73.8 million for the provincial portion of the New Building Canada Fund (Government Relations);
- $12.5 million for the provincial portion of the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund (Government Relations);
- $15 million to complete the government’s commitment for the Saskatoon North Commuter Parkway Bridge (Government Relations);
- $14 million for the Municipal Roads for the Economy Program (Highways and Infrastructure);
- $6.7 million for the Urban Connector Program (Highways and Infrastructure); and
- $1.4 million for the Strategic Partnership Program (Highways and Infrastructure).
The 2018-19 Budget includes $48.5 million in other funding for municipalities, an increase of $6.3 million or 15 per cent from the 2017-18 Budget. Funding consists of:
- $17.5 million in policing grants (Corrections and Policing), an increase of $1.086 million;
- $11.1 million grant to libraries, an increase of $4.84 million (Education);
- $8.5 million for grants–in-lieu of taxes to municipalities and libraries, an increase of $165,000 (Government Relations);
- $5.0 million grant funding for Urban Parks (Central Services, Parks, Culture and Sport and Advanced Education);
- $3.5 million for the Transit Assistance for People with Disabilities Program (Government Relations);
- $1.9 million for the Discount Bus Pass Program, an increase of $26,000 (Social Services); and
- $700,000 for the Community Airports Partnership Program (Highways).
In the 2017-18 Budget, the government made the decision to end some payments that had been made to municipalities by SaskPower and SaskEnergy and undertake a complete review in order to find a solution that is equitable to all urban municipalities. The following changes will come into effect in 2018-19.
Grants-in-Lieu of Property Tax
- SaskPower and SaskEnergy will pay grants-in-lieu of property taxes on owned real-estate assets in Saskatchewan (i.e. office buildings), but exclude generation, transmission, and distribution facilities, as well as pipelines and land.
SaskEnergy Municipal Surcharge
- SaskEnergy will now collect a municipal surcharge on behalf of all urban municipalities at a rate of five per cent. This charge will appear on SaskEnergy customer bills. Municipalities can choose to opt-out of this program. Prior to this year, 109 Saskatchewan urban municipalities received the municipal surcharge, while most municipalities were not eligible to receive it. This change ensures fairness for all cities, towns and villages in Saskatchewan.
SaskPower Municipal Surcharge
- There will be no change to this existing surcharge.