Melfort mayor seeking stability from Sask. budget

By Clark Stork
April 6, 2018 - 2:00pm

No more cuts to funding is the lone wish Melfort mayor Rick Lang has ahead of the 2018 provincial budget announcement next week.

The City of Melfort received some pre-budget news this week when a contract arrived stating $1.4 million will be used to rehabilitate service roads in the south end of the city. In 2009, the city made an agreement with the Government of Saskatchewan allowing Melfort to control the roadways. Lang said the roads were to be turned over in “like-new” condition but that did not happen. The city used tax dollars over the years to maintain the roads as well. Lang said the news of the funding was welcomed at city hall.

“We’re just happy it’s finally getting done,” he said. “Unfortunately repairing it ourselves was something we had to do but, it was something we shouldn’t have had to do. We’re happy it’s finally getting done.”

Lang said the tenders should be out soon, the work will be completed this summer. The announcement came about a week before the Saskatchewan Party tables the budget. Lang usually travels to the Legislature in Regina for the announcement but this year he is going to be in Swift Current for meetings. He said specific spending announcements for the city usually aren’t outlined in the document.

“Generally speaking there is nothing specific for Melfort except for the year they announced the domestic violence shelter. That was exciting for the city,” he said.

The provincial government was forced to recoup losses due to a downturn in revenues including the retraction of the grants-in-lieu program last year. Melfort lost $256,000 in revenue last year through the program that allowed municipalities to collect taxes on Crown buildings like SaskPower. Lang said he hopes there are no more surprises this year. The City of Melfort already passed its 2018 budget that featured a tax increase of 3.14 per cent, but Lang said if revenues drop the taxpayers could be on the hook.

“I’m sincerely hoping there are no negative surprises this year because we have no other alternative then to pass them on if it happens,” he said.

The budget will be tabled April 10.


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On Twitter: @ClarkStork

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