|Reeve weighs in on budget|
|Local Content - Local News|
|Written by Stan Ashbee|
|Wednesday, 20 March 2013 16:24|
Borrowing from Peter to pay Paul isn’t necessarily a desirable outcome, especially when the 2013 provincial budget is concerned, but the Alberta government is borrowing over $4.3 billion for infrastructure funds to build hospitals, schools and roads without any new or increased taxes.
Earlier this month, the dreaded provincial budget was released with the announcement of the province’s borrowing plans.
Operation spending will not be increasing but the provincial government anticipates a $2 billion deficit on revenues of over $38 billion. Apparently, the government’s Contingency Account will cover the gap. So what does the 2013 provincial budget mean to the Municipal District of Taber?
“I guess its going to affect the municipality in a few ways,” said Brian Brewin, reeve of the M.D.
“For starters, I want to state the amount of money the province has put in to the area with the two water lines, plant upgrades and waste water. It’s not like we haven’t had any help or support from the province. It’s always tough, we just went through it and I can appreciate what they have to go through. The biggest one is there’s going to be an increase on the requisition on the education side. So it looks like property taxes are going to go up because of the education requisition. Probably the other one is the resource road program.”
We had two roads we were hoping to apply for under that program, one being the Red Trail and the other one being near Enchant. So we have to re-evaluate, obviously we’re not going to be able to.” Brewin added the increase in property tax will not take effect until next year.
Brewin said the bridge program is also being cut. “That’s another big one for the municipality. We were hoping to get three or four bridges built this year in town and we’re not sure what’s going to happen there but it looks like there’s some changes happening in that program too. That’s big for the M.D. just because of the irrigation district and we probably have a high number of bridges compared to other municipalities so that is a big program for us,” said Brewin, adding there will be changes that will affect agriculture, as well. “Anything that affects agriculture affects the M.D. of Taber, that’s for sure.”
According to the M.D. Reeve, the provincial government had to make some hard choices and the budget was no doubt a balancing act. “I’m not going to belittle them for what they have to do.”
Town of Vauxhall Mayor Gordon Brown noted a budget’s a budget and the way he sees it is there’s a few good things to come out of the recently announced provincial budget.
“The budget is a lot of smoke and mirrors because they’re in trouble right now but there’s a couple of good things — no tax increase, no sales tax. They’re going to keep on working on infrastructure with more money I presume,” said Brown.
“There’s one thing in there that I liked was they’re going to reduce the portion of the education tax on our property taxes so that sounds like a good thing. Some of the people will love that.”
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