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OPINION: Merry Christmas, Calgary! Oy Vey, Oyen! LGFF Winners and Losers

In a much-anticipated announcement, the Province of Alberta has disclosed its Municipalities Local Government Fiscal Framework (LGFF) Funding for the 2024/2025 fiscal year. The revelation unveils a mixed bag of christmas fortunes for municipalities across the province, with Calgary emerging as the major beneficiary in 2024 and 2025.

Calgary's windfall is nothing short of staggering, with the city securing a lion's share of the funding. A whopping $223 million is set to flow into Calgary's coffers - this funding has no conneciton to the already announced $330-million the province has comitted to the city for the new Calgary Arena - constituting nearly 31 percent of the total provincial allocation. This significant boost represents a considerable jump for the city, slated to receive over $31 million more in 2025. In stark contrast, Edmonton, the provincial capital, will secure $158 million, accounting for approximately 22 percent of the funding, with a modest increase of $20.9 million in the upcoming year.

The victors among the mid-size cities are Red Deer and Lethbridge, with $13 million and $12.3 million respectively. Conversely, Wetaskiwin will receive a mere 0.22 percent of the funding at $1.6 million, marking the smallest increase of $228,177 for a total of $1.8 million in 2025.

Towns like Cochrane and Okotoks are set to receive substantial shares, with $3.5 million and $3.4 million respectively. Cochrane, in particular, will experience a significant windfall, nearing half a million dollars more in 2025.

The stark reality, however, unfolds in the town of Oyen, the sole community witnessing a reduction in funding. From $375,332 in 2024, the town will grapple with a $5,000 cut, settling at $369,836 in 2025.

In the village category, Stirling claims the top spot with just over $400,000, while Duchess records the most substantial increase, climbing from $335,900 to $375,440 in 2025—a surge of $38,000.

All villages collectively share a slice of nearly $20 million, equivalent to 2.6 percent of the total LGFF funding.

For rural communities grappling with impending infrastructure projects, the funding announcement may feel like a less-than-festive surprise. The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo leads the pack with a generous $16 million, closely followed by Strathcona County securing over $12 million. In stark contrast, the MD of Acadia and MD of Bighorn receive the smallest portions, each with just under $400,000.

In totality, rural municipalities receive $145 million, representing 20 percent of the LGFF funding this year.

Despite calls from Alberta Municipalities and the Regional Municipality Association for an additional $1 billion in funding, the 2024 allocations remained unchanged. Meaning that the calls at this years Falls RMA convention and Alberta Municipalities Convention for the Province to help out fell on deaf ears. As municipalities adjust to the announced figures, the road ahead seems paved with challenges, emphasizing the need for prudent financial management and strategic planning in the face of evolving fiscal landscapes.


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