Municipal revenue sharing to bump down mill rates

Tyler
Tyler Clarke
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A Saskatchewan government chart shows Prince Albert’s share of the PST through municipal revenue sharing from 2007 to the current fiscal year. 

With municipal revenue sharing bumped up to a record height, property owners will see a lessened tax burden in 2015-16.

 

Municipal revenue sharing is fed by one per cent of the provincial sales tax collected two years previous.

Drawing PST from the record-breaking 2013-14 fiscal year, the provincial government is spreading a municipal revenue sharing total of $265.3 million amongst municipalities.

This is expected to have a positive impact on 2015 mill rates throughout the province.

At $265.3 million, the 2015-14 revenue sharing total is slightly higher than the $264.4 million shared in 2013-14.

The City of Prince Albert received $7.41 million in 2013-14 -- the same approximate amount they’re now projected to receive in 2015-16.

“The revenue sharing pool has gone up substantially, so it’s very good for the city, there’s no doubt it,” city manager Jim Toye said.

“It is unconditional money, so we can use it for whatever city expense we need to.”

This will translate into a lessened property tax burden when it comes to 2015 budget preparations, Mayor Greg Dionne said.

“We’ll factor that in when it comes to the mill rate,” he said.

Although the concrete total won’t be released until the provincial budget drops in March, administration will provide city council with a ballpark figure to work with.

City council still plans on finalizing the 2015 budget by the end of 2014, Dionne confirmed.

Although the city’s elected officials have traditionally used municipal revenue sharing to feed the city’s general operating budget, and therefore pare down mill rates, Toye said that it’s always up to city council to decide what they’ll do with the no-strings-attached money.

The revenue sharing pool has gone up substantially, so it’s very good for the city, there’s no doubt it. Jim Toye

“The other option to that is, city council can take any increase or reduction and have it go to any particular project, or any particular department,” he said.

The bump in municipal revenue sharing is indicative of a thriving provincial economy, Dionne said of the PST-fed provincial pool of money.

“As long as people keep spending it’s pretty consistent,” he summarized. “I just hope it keeps going up and up and up.”

The record municipal revenue sharing total follows a slight slump in 2014-15, during which the city received about $205,000 less than the previous year.

Offsetting the present fiscal year’s municipal revenue sharing shortfall was a Sask. Party decision to keep the education mill rate unchanged from the previous year.

Although the present year saw property owners face a 4.5 per cent mill rate increase, it translated into an average tax bill increase of only 2.5 per cent.

Province-wide, the 2015-16 municipal revenue sharing total of $265.3 million is a 108.4 per cent increase over 2007-08’s $127.26 million. 

Organizations: Sask. Party

Geographic location: Prince Albert

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