Hot summer read: Financing Municipal Infrastructure

Just in time for the final stretch of summer, the latest Future of Municipal Government (FOMG) paper on Financing Municipal Infrastructure will be available on Thursday, September 1, on the Publications webpage of the University of Calgary – The School of Public Policy.  You can register for an online discussion with the authors, Bev Dahlby and Mel McMillan, taking place on Thursday, September 8, at 3 p.m.

The paper examines the hottest trends in infrastructure expenditures and finances, and proposes a new system of provincial transfers that includes: 

  • Matching grants to municipalities for spending on infrastructure, which directly benefit the broader region and generate fiscal benefits for the provincial government from increases in economic activity and tax revenues.
  • Grants to municipalities with deficient tax bases.
  • A separate capital transfer program for summer villages, special areas and improvement districts, given their unique characteristics. 
  • Funding municipal transfers through the provincial property tax.

While the details of proposed grants for capital projects and municipalities with deficient tax bases do not align exactly with ABmunis' advocacy for non-competitive, predictable transfers through the Local Government Fiscal Framework (LGFF), their concepts do align with principles we are pursuing through our work with the Rural Municipalities of Alberta on the LGFF allocation formula.

Based on input from members, Alberta Municipalities' goals are that the LGFF allocation formula should:

  • Account for the scope of existing infrastructure and growth pressures in each municipality;
  • Account for each municipality’s fiscal capacity; and
  • Support the principles of effective asset management.

Members have long identified issues with how provincial property taxes are collected and allocated. The paper’s proposal to earmark revenue from provincial property taxes to municipalities is sure to pique members’ interest.

Register today to take part in this important conversation!