Both ministers tell us that there will be no tax increases, even though provincial revenues have seriously declined. They're telling Albertans that the budget will be balanced by spending cuts and "wiser spending," to accommodate the $6 billion resource revenue shortfall.
Small municipalities like ours rely on provincial grants and programs for improvements and upkeep in the village. Streets improvements, tourist facilities, and a myriad of other programs are paid for by provincial grants, at least in part.
I worry that some of these grants will be severely reduced or cut completely, as Premier Redford and Minister Horner sharpen their pencils!
If that happens, we have two choices;
- Reduce or eliminate the project or program.
- Increase municipal taxes to replace the lost funding.
Neither of these options appeal to me!
In my experience working in municipal government, I have realized that Albertans do not want severe property tax increases, even though our property taxes here in this province are lower than most others.
Bottom line is that I cannot support a significant property tax increase! If the province does severely reduce or cut grants to municipalities, we will have to do some real belt-tightening here! Will the province download their financial shortcomings to the small municipalities?
I hope that I'm worrying for nothing!