“Even if they were to establish the fiscal framework at a relatively low level, but in years like 2022, when there’s a bonanza of revenue, put some to debt, put some to savings, but put some to maintenance and renewal, I’d like to see that,” he says.
For context, the province is projecting a budget surplus of $12.3 billion this year, a welcome development that experts expect to continue in the coming years. Cartmell would also like to see the province’s portion of the education tax returned to the cities.
In October, the province did announce $63 million in new funding for addiction services over the next two years in Edmonton, and $19 million to reduce homelessness, and in December the province announced a “task force” to “address social issues through a coordinated response between the province, city and local partners.”
It’s a welcome development, but Ceci says it’s a stop-gap solution and not a long-term plan. “The long-term plan is supportive and deeply subsidized affordable housing for vulnerable populations and low income people,” he says. “The province has ripped up our plan for affordable housing and said the private sector will address the housing needs of Albertans. That has not happened.”
“Our approach was one of working with municipalities, starting with Calgary and Edmonton,” Ceci says. “We recognized where they had limited revenue sources and they needed to have a stable one going forward so they could plan, so they could count on what they were getting from the province instead of this ongoing series of grants that change from year to year.”
Savvy AF. Blunt AF. Edmonton AF.