Drumheller joins bat­tle to re­store So­cial Hous­ing grants

The Drumheller Mail - - FRONT PAGE - O.R Sheddy Mail Editor

Drumheller is join­ing the Mayor’s Cau­cus of the Al­berta Ur­ban Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties As­so­ci­a­tion (AUMA) to ad­vo­cate on the prov­ince’s de­ci­sion to not re­in­state the Grants in Lieu of Tax’s (GILT) for so­cial hous­ing.

The Mayor’s cau­cus met in Ed­mon­ton ear­lier this month and ex­pressed frus­tra­tion in the Min­is­ter of Se­niors and Hous­ing Lori Sig­urd­son’s state­ment that they would not be restor­ing the pro­gram. Prov­ince wide, this amounts to $15 mil­lion not granted to mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties. In Drumheller this amounts to about $55,000.

In a state­ment from AUMA, “The prov­ince’s de­ci­sion is par­tic­u­larly dis­ap­point­ing given AUMA’s ex­ten­sive ad­vo­cacy through our news re­lease fol­low­ing Bud­get 2015 and our

nu­mer­ous meet­ings and cor­re­spon­dence with the min­istry over the fall and win­ter pe­riod. De­spite this ad­vo­cacy by AUMA and let­ters from sev­eral mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties to the Min­is­ter, it is clear that the govern­ment does not un­der­stand the im­pact of this down­load­ing of costs.”

It fur­ther states that while AUMA would con­tinue to ad­vo­cate, it urges its mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties to take ac­tion at the lo­cal level.

Drumheller Coun­cil has drafted a let­ter to Min­is­ter Sig­urd­son in sup­port of main­tain­ing the Grant in Lieu of Taxes Pro­gram for Pub­lic Hous­ing projects.

“This down­load­ing of costs on mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties is not ap­pro­pri­ate. Th­ese prop­er­ties re­ceive mu­nic­i­pal ser­vices like ev­ery other prop­erty in Drumheller, and as the key prop­erty owner, the Govern­ment of Al­berta should be re­spon­si­ble for pay­ing the same taxes that all other prop­erty own­ers pay in or­der for this es­sen­tial in­fra­struc­ture and ser­vices to be pro­vided,” states its let­ter.

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