Regional Centre Funding
IT IS THEREFORE RESOLVED THAT the AUMA advocate for a dedicated funding stream for municipalities who serve as regional service centres.
WHEREAS some municipalities serve as regional service centre hubs for commerce, recreation, health care, social services, and provincial amenities;
WHEREAS there are unique challenges that are disproportionately faced by regional centres;
WHEREAS these unique challenges result in a disproportionate tax burden being placed on residents of these communities;
WHEREAS the Alberta government’s 50% reduction in GIPOT funding disproportionately impacts regional centres which typically have more provincial facilities such as court houses, hospitals, schools, etc.
Some municipalities in the Province serve as regional centres where a variety of services are located. As a regional service centre, a municipality has increased costs due to the variety of municipal services it must provide while not receiving offsetting revenue for these costs.
For example, regional service centres are typically where community halls, churches, non-profits, and social housing projects are located. None of these facilities generate property tax, yet the municipality still has to provide snow removal, fire services, storm drainage, etc. to these properties.
These services are also provided to provincial properties such as court houses and health facilities. While some funding for these services are provided by the Province through GIPOT, in recent years this funding has been cut by 50%.
Additionally, regional service centres attract a greater number of street engaged and at-risk individuals. This increases the demand for the social services provided by these municipalities. While the Province does support many of the direct costs of providing services to this population, there are many indirect costs that are borne by the municipalities such as increased policing/enforcement costs and funding to non-profits operating in the sector.
Having a dedicated funding stream for regional centres would address the disproportionate burden that is placed on their taxpayers.
AUMA does not currently have a position on this specific issue. If this resolution is passed, it would be forwarded to the Government of Alberta for response and further advocacy would be recommended to AUMA’s Board by AUMA’s Municipal Governance Committee within the context of other priorities and positions related to funding and intermunicipal collaboration.