Provincial investments are important to improving the quality of life in Saskatchewan’s cities, towns, villages, resort villages and northern municipalities.
With the release of the 2023-24 provincial budget, the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA) recognizes the province’s effort to improve the lives of Saskatchewan’s residents, particularly through increased funding for infrastructure and health services.
SUMA is pleased to see an investment of $89.4 million to build, operate and maintain the transportation system in northern Saskatchewan. The additional $6 million for the preservation and maintenance of northern roads to support the province’s forestry industry will also help support economic development in Saskatchewan’s northern communities.
All of Saskatchewan’s hometowns will benefit from the record investment of more than $297 million in Municipal Revenue Sharing, a 13 per cent increase from the 2022-23 year. However, with more than 80 per cent of Saskatchewan’s population calling an urban municipality home, SUMA believes the funding allocations need to be adjusted to reflect where Saskatchewan’s population lives and works, while recognizing the greater cost of providing services in Saskatchewan’s northern municipalities.
“Municipal Revenue Sharing helps fund the projects that matter most to our communities,” SUMA president Randy Goulden said. “As Saskatchewan’s population continues to move to our villages, towns and cities, we need to ensure the revenue sharing model recognizes that shift and enables our hometowns to provide and maintain the infrastructure and services residents expect.”
With a projected $1 billion surplus, SUMA is disappointed that PST will continue to be applied to municipal construction projects. While the increased Municipal Revenue Sharing is welcome news for Saskatchewan’s hometowns, municipalities will be returning a significant portion of the funding to the province through PST on municipal construction projects. Data gathered by SUMA showed that medium-sized cities in Saskatchewan returned 24 to 39 per cent of their total Municipal Revenue Sharing grant back to the province in the form of PST on municipal construction projects in 2021.
“As costs continue to rise due to inflation, the percentage of Municipal Revenue Sharing that we return to the province in the form of PST on our municipal construction projects also continues to increase,” said Goulden. “We could do so much more in our communities if the funding stayed in our municipalities.”