Grant cuts could deal $10M blow to Regina, says mayor
Michael Fougere concerned about cuts to city grants, libraries
Regina Mayor Michael Fougere has raised concerns about the impact to libraries and a possible multi-million dollar hit to the city from Wednesday's provincial budget.
The budget ceased provincial funding for libraries in Regina and Saskatoon, a move that will shave $1.3 million from spending.
- Grant cuts in budget could cost Saskatoon $11.4M
- STC shutdown leaves up to 300 cancer treatment patients looking for a ride
It also put an end to $36 million in grants from SaskPower and SaskEnergy.
Mayor Fougere estimates the impact to Regina from cuts to grants will be between $6 million and $10 million.
"It profoundly affects our city and while we don't understand what's included, we have not seen the budget books yet, anywhere from a six to $10 million hit to our city," he said shortly after the budget was released Wednesday afternoon.
"That is significant downloading to our city."
Government to 'mitigate' impact
A news release from the government said the cuts would disproportionately affect Regina, adding that measures would be taken to mitigate those impacts.
Fougere welcomed that statement, saying the city would take the next few days to determine the full impact from the change.
Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark said the decision could cost his city more than $10 million and create a "fiscal crisis" in 2017. Saskatoon city council is holding a special meeting to discuss the budget on Sunday.
Other questions, concerns
Fougere also raised questions about the province's plan to deal with the federal infrastructure program, also announced on Wednesday.
He said there was no mention of it in the provincial budget.
"In terms of long-term sustainable infrastructure projects in our province, that's a question mark," he said.
"Not a negative, just a question mark."
Fougere was worried, too, about ongoing reductions to the Urban Highway Connector program, which dropped by $1 million dollars to $6.65M in the budget.
- A previous version of this story said the grants will no longer be paid to municipalities in lieu of property taxes for infrastructure. In fact, the province will no longer be paying grants to make up for money the city could have been getting if it ran its own utilities.Mar 28, 2017 11:19 AM CT