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

School District 8 votes to move Grade 9 from LVR to Trafalgar

The board also delayed a decision on reconfiguring grades at Slocan schools

Storm prompts travel warning for Boundary, West Kootenay

Up to 25 cm expected on high mountain passes

Cops seize load of pot near Salmo

Traffic stop nets hundreds of pounds of cannabis

VIDEO: Octopus, bald eagle battle after bird ‘bites off more than it can chew’ in B.C. waters

B.C. crew films fight between the two feisty animals in Quatsino off north Vancouver Island

Raptors fans show Kawhi the love in his return to Toronto

Leonard receives championship ring, leads new club to win

Process to identify those killed in Gabriola plane crash could take days

Canadian flight museum suggests Alex Bahlsen of Mill Bay died in Tuesday’s crash

‘Honest mistake:’ RCMP says B.C. cannabis shop can keep image of infamous Mountie

Sam Steele wearing military, not RCMP uniform in image depicted in Jimmy’s Cannabis window

B.C. conservation officers put down fawn blinded by pellet gun on Vancouver Island

Young deer found near construction site in Hammond Bay area in Nanaimo, B.C.

Laid-off forest workers converge on B.C. legislature

Loggers call for action on strike, provincial stumpage

B.C. guide fined $2K in first conviction under new federal whale protection laws

Scott Babcock found guilty of approaching a North Pacific humpback whale at less than 100 metres

Feds urge Air Canada to fix booking problems as travel season approaches

The airline introduced the new reservation system more than three weeks ago

Almost 14,000 Canadians killed by opioids since 2016: new national study

17,000 people have been hospitalized for opioid-related poisoning

Most Read