The Town of Drumheller was expecting a tight provincial budget and this has proven to be the case. Staff have been going through the budget which was released last week, to determine the impact on our community.
The 2019 budget outlines a reduction in MSI (Municipal Sustainability Initiative) to municipalities as well as a reduction in the Grants in Place of Taxes (GIPOT) program by 24% in 2019/20 and a further 32% in 2020/21.
MSI provides both operating and capital funds. The biggest reduction in funding is capital funds. Currently MSI funding supports the Street Improvement Program and other capital projects in our community.
The GIPOT program is based on the property taxes the provincial government would pay on their buildings if the property was not tax exempt. Currently the Town of Drumheller receives around $60,000 a year meaning a reduction of $14,400 in 2019 to $45,600 and then a reduction of $14,592 in 2020 to $31,008. This is a significant reduction in revenue for properties which the municipality still has to provide policing and fire protection.
“We are relieved vital community services such as FCSS have been maintained. However; the reduction in MSI and GIPOT will have a definite impact on upcoming budgets and on the amount of infrastructure projects to be carried out,” outlined Town of Drumheller CAO Darryl Drohomerski.
“Administration and Council will be working hard to look at the 2020 budget to maintain the level of service to our residents whilst dealing with these budget implications.”