The Town of Nipawin has given the provincial budget a thumbs up.
Mayor Rennie Harper said she was glad to hear the budget included a plan to cut the deficit, and also added support for young children with autism spectrum disorder. As promised in last year's Throne Speech, children under the age of six with autism spectrum disorder will receive $4,000 for support services.
"It was one of the things that our community actually met to talk to the minister of education about, so I'm pleased to see that and I think there is a need," she said.
Another highlight for Harper was $4.9 million in new funding earmarked to combat rural crime, including the creation of 30 new police traffic-safety positions.
"I don’t know what that means for individual municipalities or villages, but there seems to be a recognition that it is an issue and I think that's good to address it in this budget," she said.
Direct provincial funding for municipalities is being cut this year by 4.9 per cent, though Harper says it’s too soon to know the direct impact on their community. Chief Administrative Officer Barry Elliot said the town would be in contact with Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association to discuss the details further.
"The lion's share of our support from the province comes through both conditional and non-conditional grants," Elliot said. "It's not terribly clear at this point just how this will be rolled out."
The President of the Nipawin and District Chamber of Commerce also expressed his support for the provincial budget. Marlon Zacharias said he was expecting an increase bringing the provincial sales tax up to seven per-cent.
"I'm definitely happy that they didn't go with that," he said.
One standouts from Tuesday's budget, Zacharias said, was the announcement the government would no longer exempt used light vehicles and energy-efficient appliances from the provincial sales tax. There are still some exemptions on cars sold between family members or those sold for less than $5,000.
"The used car businesses are going to see a little bit initially, with everyone having to pay that extra $600 on a $10,000, so we might see a bit of a transition away from some of the used and people looking at a cheaper, newer vehicle," Zacharias said.
Like Harper, Zacharias said he was glad to hear the provincial government had a plan to reduce the deficit.
"We aren’t going to be living on our grandchildren's money in the next year or two," he said.
On Twitter: @nigelmaxwell
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