The Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA) continued to call for “meaningful consultation” with the province on Monday.
The Saskatchewan government made many changes to how it will provide funding to municipalities when it released its budget on Thursday.
This has lead to mayors from across the province voicing their frustration and having to reopen their budgets to deal with the loss of funds.
One of the major points SUMA has taken issue with was that there was no consultation with the municipalities on how these cuts could affect them.
“Saying everything is on the table is not consultation,” Mayor of Naicum, Rodger Hayward said.
SUMA was also displeased that after a meeting with the ministers, an announcement was made just two days later, once again without consultation with SUMA, that the lieu program would be capped for nine communities.
Hayward said the province and SUMA need to talk because there’s some small communities who are being left in the dark.
“A lot of those towns either have their budgets passed, or are working on it right now, and still may not even know they’re cut back by $4,000 or $5,000 or $10,000.”
It’s not only the removal of the grants in lieu, but other funding cuts that are affecting cities, villages and towns as well.
These include the Community Rink Affordability Grant, reduced funding to urban parks and slashed funding to libraries.
“Cutting funding and programs and then expecting our hometowns to pay the difference is blatantly unfair,” said Yorkton Mayor Bob Maloney.
Torquay Mayor Mike Strachan said the rink affordability grant helped power their rink for two months of the year. If they were to continue running the rink the entire season, other areas in the community, such as summer landscaping, would need to take a hit.
Saskatoon, Regina, and Yorkton are all meeting Monday to discuss changes to their respective budgets.