Local municipalities and regional districts are seeking stable funding from the province for infrastructure projects.

Kootenay governments call for new funding formula

A lobby group for municipalities and regional districts in our region wants a “long term revenue sharing formula” from the province.

You’re a local government in the Kootenays, with an urgent and expensive infrastructure project. You apply for a provincial grant to help cover the costs. But the program is oversubscribed and you get a letter back saying “Better luck next time.”

Now what? Borrow money and pay for the full shot yourself? Put it off until next year and try again?

A lobby group for municipalities and regional districts in our region says this scenario happens all the time — but shouldn’t.

The Association of Kootenay Boundary Local Governments is calling on the BC government to replace the present system of ad hoc grant funding with a “long term revenue sharing formula.”

Association president Andy Shadrack, the regional director for rural Kaslo, says local communities provide a “broad range of services,” but can’t keep it up when they only receive eight cents of every tax dollar. (The remainder goes to senior levels of government.)

“We want the province to work with us to end the policy of having local governments compete against each other for grants,” Shadrack said in a news release. “We believe that every local government should be treated as a partner when it comes to long-term planning and budgeting for our infrastructure.”

Shadrack said local governments need “ongoing, predictable” funding, versus the present approach, which makes it difficult for communities to accomplish their goals.

In an interview, he added they haven’t yet specified how much they are seeking, but pointed to the federal gas tax fund as the kind of revenue sharing scheme they have in mind. Since 2005, the fund has provided permanent, per capita funding to local governments for capital projects. “It was a huge step forward,” Shadrack said. “If infrastructure is important, then let’s have a solid funding base.”

Shadrack said their request is critical in light of downloading from senior governments —  municipalities and regional districts are asked to take care of certain services without additional funding, shifting the burden from income and sales taxpayers to property owners.

“There’s an ongoing discussion about us taking on responsibility for dikes, but no offer of any money,” he said. “There’s an endless list.”

The issue has already been raised by the BC mayors’ caucus, and Shadrack says as a region they want to put provincial party leaders on notice that they want a change.

The call for the new approach to distributing provincial revenues comes following a meeting Friday involving 60 local government officials from throughout southeastern BC.

Just Posted

Free shuttle running at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital

Parking and main access have been ongoing challenges since KBRH construction began in October

Snowfall warning issued for Kootenay passes

Up to 35 cm of snow expected Monday night and Tuesday.

Business Buzz: The Buzz is Back in Nelson

Bob Hall is a volunteer director on the Nelson District Chamber of Commerce. His column appears in the Nelson Star once a month.

Avalanche Canada issues special public warning

Very weak layer buried under recent snow a cause for concern

KBRH on watch for bed bugs after two recent cases

Spokesperson Mandy Lowery says there has not been a bed bug sighting at KBRH since Dec. 8

Story of the Year: Deadly Humboldt Broncos bus crash

The Canadian Press annual survey of newsrooms across the country saw 53 out of 129 editors cast their votes for the Humboldt Broncos bus crash.

‘Subdued’ housing market predicted in B.C. through 2021: report

The Central 1 Credit Union report predicts “rising but subdued sales” over the next three years, with little movement in median home prices.

A journey through 2018’s top pop culture moments

Was there any pop culture this year? Of course there was.

‘A stronger Alberta:’ Ottawa announces $1.6B for Canada’s oil and gas sector

Price of Alberta oil plummeted so low that Alberta’s Premier said Canada was practically giving it away

Wicked weather, including heavy snow, rainfall, hammers southern B.C.

Environment Canada has posted winter storm warnings for the Coquihalla Highway, Highway 3

Caretaker jailed, must pay back money after stealing $260K from elderly B.C. couple

Antonette Dizon, now 50, had been hired to provide extra care for Henry and Helen Abfalter

Retailers feel the squeeze of their generous return policies

Technology data tracking can clamp down on fraudulent abuse

Canadians to get low-cost data-only mobile phone plans within 90 days: CRTC

Bell, Rogers and Telus will provide plans as cheap as 250MB for $15

Man rescued from sinking boat off the coast of Vancouver Island

Mayday call came into Coast Guard saying vessel had taken on water, BC Ferries dispatched to scene

Most Read