The town of Okotoks isn't happy with how little money they are receiving from the Provincial government.
Under the new Local Government Fiscal Framework Program (LGFF), Okotoks will receive less money than it has in a decade.
In 2007, the Government of Alberta created an infrastructure funding program called the Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI), which provided funding to municipalities throughout Alberta to help fund necessary infrastructure and operational expenses.
The purpose of the MSI was to indirectly transfer taxes back to municipal governments to be invested in local infrastructure.
The LGFF program is intended to help make planning easier because now municipalities are aware of how much funding they will receive ahead of time.
Under LGFF, though, municipalities will be receiving a substantially lower amount than they have in previous years.
The province figures out how much municipalities will receive based on four criteria.
Those are the municipality's population, tangible capital assets, amortization of tangible capital assets, and kilometres of local roads all play a factor in how much money each community receives.
Over the past decade, Okotoks received, on average, $5.805 million annually from the provincial government under the MSI program.
Which equates to $193 per capita.
Under the new LGFF program, though, there is significantly less money being split amongst the municipalities in Alberta.
This year, the province is providing only $722 million to all of Alberta's municipalities, with Calgary and Edmonton getting the brunt of the funding.
Edmonton and Calgary combined will receive $382 million from that funding, with the rest of the province splitting only $340 million.
Of that $340 million, Okotoks will only be receiving $3.438 million.
Which equates to only $105 per capita.
This also equates to a drop from 3.7 per cent of provincial total spending on local infrastructure 10 years ago to just 1 per cent in 2024.
The town expressed concern over the drop in funding in a statement released on January 4.
"As the province continues to encourage people from across the country to move here with its Alberta Is Calling campaign, without sufficient funds in the LGFF program, municipalities, who are experiencing growth - including Okotoks, will continue to face pressures on maintaining core infrastructure, meeting demands for service levels from increased growth and access to affordable housing," reads the statement.
"Without additional funding to build infrastructure (i.e., roads, water and wastewater infrastructure, fire halls, recreational facilities etc.), the housing initiatives proposed by the federal and provincial governments will not succeed. Provincial funding must reflect the urgent need to address Alberta's housing crisis, including those in Okotoks," the statement goes on to read.
In a news release from the Alberta Municipalities Board of Directors on December 19, 2023, they also stated that the funding for LGFF needs to be substantially higher.
"The $722 million in LGFF baseline funding does not begin to address Alberta’s $30 billion (and growing) infrastructure deficit. For the past nine months, ABmunis has been calling on the provincial government to increase this amount by $1 billion to $1.75 billion," the media release stated.
Mayor Tanya Thorn reiterated that statement.
"Without the province increasing the per capita funding, municipalities, including Okotoks, cannot sufficiently support the critical infrastructure needs that come with growth. Based on these new funding numbers for Okotoks over the next two years, it’s clear the provincial government isn’t maintaining the per capita funding needed to support the growth it is encouraging," said Mayor Tanya Thorn in the town's statement.
Funding for all municipalities in 2025 will go up to $820 million, which is a 13.6 per cent increase.
Edmonton and Calgary combined will receive $434 million, while the rest of the province will receive $386 million.
Okotoks will see $3.968 million of that money next year.
This money is meant for roads, bridges, public transit, emergency services, water and wastewater systems, libraries, community centres and other municipal buildings.