$3.2 million for local municipalities
Saskatchewan government’s MEEP program
May 25, 2020, 7:47 am
Rob Paul - Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The Government of Saskatchewan has announced funding allocations for all communities within the province under the new Municipal Economic Enhancement Program 2020 (MEEP).
MEEP 2020 will provide $150 million ($143.73 per capita) to local municipalities to support investments in infrastructure to stimulate economic recovery and encourage local job creation. All together $3.2 million was given to the municipalities in the area (see page 7 for chart).
The program is part of the Government of Saskatchewan’s $7.5 billion, two-year capital plan that was announced May 6 to help Saskatchewan’s economic recovery from the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The Government of Saskatchewan is proud to continue to fulfil its commitment to the people of the province by ensuring important infrastructure dollars are available to our communities when they need it most,” said Government Relations Minister Lori Carr. “This $150 million investment into Saskatchewan’s municipalities can be used for shovel ready infrastructure projects and initiatives, and will help keep our municipalities strong during the current pandemic.”
All funding related to the program must be used by the local municipality by March 31, 2022. Project plans will be reviewed for eligibility by the Ministry of Government Relations and MEEP funding can’t be used by municipalities to pay down debt, purchase land, lease property, or finance administration costs.
MEEP has 14 different broad infrastructure project categories:
Engineering and Feasibility Studies
Local Roads and Bridges
Municipally-Owned Buildings and Assets
Planning and Development
Recreation, Culture, Tourism and Sport
Wastewater and Storm Water
Moosomin will be receiving $394,247 from the Government of Saskatchewan through MEEP 2020.
“We haven’t talked about it with council yet, but we have a meeting next week to look into plans for it,” said Moosomin Mayor Larry Tomlinson. “Paul — our CAO — and I have talked about it — we’re getting over $300,000 — and some of it can go to relining sewers.”
“That could use up a big chunk of it, but something needs to be done — part of it’s been done already — and we could use the money for that.”
“We still have to discuss it, but there’s a few other projects that will fit in with it I think,” he said. “That will have to be discussed by council next week, but the sewer and water would be a major part of it because our water and sewer lines in town need work desperately.
“It was a very welcome surprise. This year we don’t want to see a tax increase in town. So this was a welcome surprise since we aren’t putting a tax increase. With Covid-19 going on, you don’t want to be increasing taxes if you can help it.”
Esterhazy will be receiving $359,608 from the Government of Saskatchewan through MEEP 2020.
“This will certainly have to be something we sit down and review,” said Esterhazy Mayor Grant Forster. “We just got the number last week from the province, but we’ve tossed around a few ideas already just informally.”
“Essentially to do it right it’s something we’ll have to talk about at our next meeting. I think you can look at that money and say it will allow us to maybe change what we’re planning to do this year with things we didn’t budget for. We didn’t have much in the way of a paving program this year.”
“If paving is something that this money will be a qualified expense for, then that could be something we could do,” he said. “We also pushed back an electrical upgrade for our arena — there’s a few things that we set up reserves for, to fund in the future, that maybe can be brought forward if they qualify for an expense.”
“There’s also a few other things we’ve kind of got on the two to five year capital plan that we may be able to move up now because of this,” he said. “It’s something we have to look at so we can kind of set some priorities, but it’s definitely a huge shot in the arm for us to get that kind of money and be able to do things that we’ve been looking at putting off.”
“Honestly, for us I would say it certainly is a bonus. We felt pretty good about our whole budget procedure and process this year that we were able to get as much done as we could without having to raise any taxes.”
“The thing that still is an unknown and will be an unknown for all municipalities, is the effect our residents are going to have for those who had to be off work and are only relying on the federal measures for income replacement. If this money wasn’t available we would definitely feel the hit on the bottom line if we have a number of people who can’t pay their taxes, but if this money is available it still allows us to continue to do some of those projects and not have to put them off because of a lack of money.”
“We’ve got to look at all the guidelines and regulations on exactly what we can and can’t do, but certainly we’re hoping we can use the money this year and next year for some of those capital things that need to be done and hopefully get some activity going around in the town again.”
Kipling will be receiving $154,364 from the Government of Saskatchewan through MEEP 2020.
“We haven’t had a council meeting yet — since the announcement — to determine where this money would go,” said Kipling Mayor Buck Bright. “We have our budget and things like that in place, but we’ll need to have a council meeting to have a discussion amongst ourselves — as well as having our administration there to advise us — to determine where this best would go.”
“Like every small town in Saskatchewan there’s so many capital improvements and things like that needed,” he said. “There’s certainly some concerns as well with the impact of Covid-19 and what that might mean long-term for our communities. As far as right now with specifics we’ll discuss at our next council meeting June 8. We’ll have more information after that.”
“Anytime the provincial and federal government recognize the needs of smaller municipalities and the struggles we face it’s always nice to see that recognition and support,” he said. “Especially in these times.”
Redvers will be receiving $149,765 from the Government of Saskatchewan through MEEP 2020.
“We talked about where the money could go, but it’ll be a few days until we really decide,” said Redvers Mayor Garry Jensen.
“I think what they’re trying to do is get the province working and it’s good for the municipalities,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to cleanup a few little projects that we have with the money.”
“We have three or four projects that we’re discussing right now,” he said. “We just got the paperwork recently so we’re still having discussions on specifics.”
Rocanville will be receiving $124,038 from the Government of Saskatchewan through MEEP 2020.
“It helps,” said Rocanville Mayor Daryl Fingas. “I think one important thing we’re doing right now is we’re trying to keep the taxes where we can and not raise them at all and we’re trying to do as much as we can with Covid-19 going on.”
“It’s quite important to be able to do that and use that money for some stuff and keep everything right where it is,” he said. “We might come up with a couple of plans for how it could be used.”
“At our council meeting we threw out a few ideas,” he said. “The money just came in so we’re brainstorming ideas to where this could go.” Tweet