McLennan: Budget ‘hurting’ small towns and villages

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Small municipalities will suffer from the 2021 provincial budget, says the mayor of the Town of McLennan.

“I am not impressed with the budget,” Mayor Michele Fournier says as she commented on the provincial budget announced Feb. 25.

“Cuts to funding for municipalities are not what we wanted to hear.”

Fournier urges the government to respond more to the needs and ideas from communities and citizens.

“The budget may be good in your eyes, but you are hurting small towns and villages.

“Government needs to listen more to the people that they represent,” Fournier says.

She is concerned the province has passed the buck on to municipalities for local taxpayers to cover expenses for some services and programs.

“The provincial government is already downloading more on to municipalities, but there is no funding that comes with it,” Fournier says.

“With the cut in funding and the downloading on to municipalities from the provincial government, such as policing costs, it leaves the municipality having to find funds to ensure we can continue to provide essential services to our residents.”

She admits the budget does have some good points.

“More money in the budget for education and health care are two positives that came out of this budget,” Fournier says.

The budget confirms plans to cut 25 per cent funding in the Municipal Sustainability Initiative [MSI] program for capital projects over the next three years starting in 2022.

Municipalities say the MSI funding is valuable and they rely on it to complete projects they otherwise might not do.

Fournier says it will not hurt the town for the current year.

“We are hopeful to go ahead with a paving project this summer,” Fournier says.

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