The 2010 Provincial Budget will be a challenge for Saskatchewan Rural Municipalities.
“Rural municipalities will have to do some belt tightening of their own as a result of infrastructure funding cuts,” said SARM President David Marit. “However, this reduction has been somewhat offset by the confirmation in the budget that municipalities will be receiving the same amount in operating funding as last year,” said President Marit.
Funding for rural roads and bridges is provided through the Ministry of Highways under the Municipal Roads For the Economy Program (MREP). In 2009 the MREP funding was ramped up significantly and almost $60 million was spent on roads to service resource development and expand the rural primary weight corridors. The reduction in provincial funding for 2010 will mean a delay in some of the work planned for these roads. “Although infrastructure funding is not where we would like it to be, we will work with the province to make the best of it while we give our economy a chance to recover,” said Marit.
“Rural communities will be pleased that the education and health funding is being maintained. We may not be where we would like to be but with our provincial economy already recovering we know that there are better times ahead,” concluded Marit.