City hopeful for important funding from provincial budget

The City of Red Deer has released its wish list for next week’s provincial budget.

“We will be watching specifically for the Province’s intention regarding support for the hospital, a shelter and additional crown prosecutors,” Mayor Tara Veer said on Thursday.

City administration will release their proposed Capital Budget on Friday, six days before the provincial government releases its budget next Thursday, Oct. 24.

“While we recognize we are in an era of economic austerity, we hope the Province will take measures to minimize impacts on Albertans. The City will still look for funding and infrastructure investment in the areas that support local efforts to reduce crime and improve community safety,” Veer said.

“Over the last few years, our province has been in a recession, which is felt by every Albertan, including us as a municipality. We will continue to advocate on behalf of our citizens to ensure we receive the investment and support our community needs to serve our citizens.”

The City of Red Deer receives funding each year for capital projects and infrastructure through the Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) grant. The amount received over the past few years has fluctuated slightly, as noted by City officials, who are bracing for a continued downward trend.

“It is clear we are shifting into an era of provincial austerity,” Veer acknowledged. “It is more important than ever to ensure we find ways to minimize local spending to align with our economic reality while still preparing for future growth in the long term,” said Veer.

“When it comes to essential services that are not solely municipally managed, there is an expectation from several levels of government to provide the necessary funding to continue services,” said Allan Seabrooke, City Manager. “When funding is minimized or cut off at the provincial or federal level, there is often downloading to the municipality, and when we’re already minimizing our budget in every area, we can’t afford to fund the shortfall.”

(With file from The City of Red Deer media release)