For Immediate Release
2016-17 Provincial Budget
In anticipation of the upcoming provincial election, the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) urges the provincial government elected on April 4 to invest in the growth, economic stability, and safety of rural Saskatchewan through the 2016-17 Provincial Budget.
“The government elected in April will be faced with tough decisions in light of the downturn in commodity prices,” said President Ray Orb. “Despite this, we urge our provincial elected officials to remember that an investment in rural municipalities is an investment in Saskatchewan.”
Each year municipalities must maintain the services they provide in the face of consistently rising costs. Municipalities must find a way to meet these pressures with a limited tax base and limited streams of revenue. Since its inception, rural municipalities have to come to rely on municipal revenue sharing. Each Saskatchewan community and resident reaps the benefits of revenue sharing as funds received provide municipalities with the critical assistance they need in meeting the challenges of growth while providing important services to our residents. Therefore, we urge 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, including agriculture which will continue to be a major contributor to our provincial economy. We are asking for MREP funding to be restored to 2013-14 levels and include a two-year funding commitment.
The provincial government has provided funding to the Provincial Rat Eradication Program (PREP) since 2010. 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. SARM would like the Budget to reflect continued provincial participation and include a funding increase to $1.5 million, with a two-year commitment.
Finally, we encourage the provincial government to further 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 looks forward to working with the provincial government elected on April 4,” said President Orb. “We are eager to work together to continue investment in rural Saskatchewan even in these tough economic times.”
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For more information please contact:
“SARM, the Voice of Rural Saskatchewan”