For Immediate Release
2016-17 Provincial Budget
The Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) urges the provincial government to invest in the growth, economic stability, and safety of rural Saskatchewan in the 2016-17 Provincial Budget.
Each year municipalities are expected to maintain the services that they provide under the pressure of rising costs. Municipalities have a limited tax base and limited streams of revenue, presenting significant challenges. Since its inception, municipal revenue sharing has been a consistent funding source that rural municipalities (RM) have come to rely upon. The province as a whole reaps the benefits of revenue sharing as funds received give RMs an opportunity to meet the challenges of growth while providing important services to our citizens. SARM urges the provincial government to retain the current PST funding model in the 2016 Provincial Budget.
SARM also requests that the provincial government invest in rural roads through the Municipal Roads for the Economy Program (MREP). MREP provides funding to RMs to assist in the costs of maintaining roads and infrastructure affected by heavy traffic use by industry. We ask that the 2016 provincial budget restore MREP funding to 2013-14 levels, and include a two year funding commitment.
Since 2010, the provincial government has provided funding to the Provincial Rat Eradication Program (PREP). PREP has made great strides in accomplishing its objective of eradicating rats in Saskatchewan, most recently achieving the lowest infestation rate ever recorded, at 3.95 per cent. We ask the province continue to participate in this program and that funding from the Ministry of Agriculture and Growing Forward II be increased to $1.5 million in 2016. Furthermore, we ask that the funding again be provided for a two year period which will further encourage RM participation.
Finally, SARM asks that the provincial government invest in public safety by taking the steps to establish an emergency response fund to provide fire departments with the resources they need to continue providing essential services without the risk of non-payment.
“SARM recognizes that the current economic climate means this will be a tough budget year,” says President Ray Orb. “However, investment in rural Saskatchewan continues to be fundamental to accomplishing the growth targets outlined in the Saskatchewan Plan for Growth.”
– 30 -For more information please contact:Jay MeyerExecutive Director(306) 761-3721
“SARM, the Voice of Rural Saskatchewan”