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Standing Shoulder-to-Shoudler Municipalities Ask Province For Help


Cathy Heron, Mayor of St. Alberta and Outgoing President of Alberta Municipalities with Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi, Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek, Alberta Mid-Size Mayor Caucus President (and Mayor of the Town of Cochrane) Jeff Genung, Rural Municipalities of Alberta President Paul McLauchlin, and the Association of Summer Villages of Alberta President (and Councillor for the Summer Village of Half Moon Bay) Mike Pashak

Municipalities of all sizes across Alberta are joining forces to call upon the provincial government to take immediate action concerning funding through the Local Government Fiscal Framework (LGFF).


According to data provided by Alberta Municipalities, municipal funding from the province has seen a significant decline, plummeting from $420 per capita in 2011 to a mere $151 per capita this year.


The province plans to allocate municipal funding through the newly established Local Government Fiscal Framework, set to commence in 2024, with an initial budget of $722 million. However, municipal leaders are united in their call to boost the LGFF funding pool substantially, aiming for an increase to $1.75 billion.


Cathy Heron, outgoing President of Alberta Municipalities, took the lead in voicing this unified demand. She emphasized that municipal leaders, regardless of their jurisdiction's size or location, are standing together and urging the Smith Government to come to the negotiation table to raise the LGFF funding from its current $722 million to $1.75 billion for future allocations.


Heron declared that municipalities were "standing shoulder to shoulder today" to appeal to Premier Smith for increased funding.


Joining Heron in this resounding call were prominent figures in Alberta's municipal landscape, including Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi, Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek, Alberta Mid-Size Mayor Caucus President (and Mayor of the Town of Cochrane) Jeff Genung, Rural Municipalities of Alberta President Paul McLauchlin, and the Association of Summer Villages of Alberta President (and Councillor for the Summer Village of Half Moon Bay) Mike Pashak.

During a press conference on the opening day of the Alberta Municipalities Conference,


Mayor Gondek stressed that the issue extends beyond the provincial government alone, highlighting the need for improved relationships with both the provincial and federal governments.


Amarjeet Sohi underscored that the current funding levels fail to keep pace with the province's growth, signaling the urgent need for more substantial financial support. All participants emphasized their desire for Alberta's growth but cautioned that it must be achieved collaboratively with municipalities.


Sohi raised concerns about the sustainability of the provincial government's "Alberta is Calling" campaign in the long term without increased funding.


Mayor Jeff Genung, President of Alberta Mid-Size Mayors, clarified that this funding request is not a handout but rather a means to, "deliever on the exsisting projects.


Paul McLauchlin, President of RMA, stressed that this plea for increased funding is not a new concern from municipal leaders but rather a cumulative issue that has persisted since the days of Premier Ed Stelmach. "We just want to be whole again," McLauchlin said, referring to the need for increased LGFF funding. He described the current funding levels as a step backward for municipalities.


Mike Pashak, President of the Association of Summer Villages of Alberta, echoed these sentiments, pointing out that their 51 member communities are grappling with similar growth-related challenges.


Premier Smith is expected to address the conference on the last day of the Alberta Municipalities Conference, which is scheduled for Friday. No word if she will make reference to the Alberta Municipalities call.



LGFF COMING NOVEMBER

Regarding this years Local Government Fiscal Framework (LGFF) funding, which is essential for municipalities, Heron and McLauchlin noted that they are actively collaborating with Alberta Municipal Affairs Minister Ric McIver on determining the funding formula.


Heron expressed optimism that details about the new funding allocations and what communities can expect from the $722 million will be disclosed in November.


However, she cautioned that this figure significantly diminishes once over $300 million is allocated to just Calgary and Edmonton alone.

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