A recent survey of 71 Saskatchewan villages, towns and cities shows many of the communities say the provincial budget has had negative effects.
In the survey conducted by the Saskatchewan Association of Urban Municipalities, just under three-quarters of communities say they were hurt by the budget, which included ending grants-in-lieu of taxes for utilities like SaskPower and SaskEnergy.
More than half of those communities say they had to increase mill rates and reduce or eliminate capital spending.
Member of the SUMA Executive, Darren Hill, believes the cuts caused some damage to the relationship between urban centres and the provincial government.
“These are things which could have had conversation prior to the budget,” said Hill. “Maybe more equitable solutions to address that 37-million dollars. Maybe municipalities could have said ‘take a percentage off the revenue sharing’ so it is spread equitably so it is spread amongst the municipalities – not just the cities and towns.”
Hill, also a councilor in Saskatoon, is now part of a working group alongside the mayors of Torquay and Naicam and SUMA President Gordon Barnhart, meeting with the province to discuss future revenue opportunities and infrastructure spending in future budgets.