Lac Ste. Anne County Council seeks to counter recent claims made by the Town of Mayerthorpe regarding recreation programming contribution inequities. In its February 26, 2021 media release, the Town falsely asserted that the burden of funding its public services is disproportionally borne by its ratepayers, and further inferred that Lac Ste. Anne County’s contributions must increase considerably to offset this imbalance.
“Any suggestion that the County doesn’t pay its fair share – and then some – for Mayerthorpe’s facilities is pure fabrication,” shared Lac Ste. Anne County Reeve Joe Blakeman. “Regardless of how the facts are bent to favour the Town’s narrative, the numbers themselves reflect our track record of providing fair, equitable and proportionate funding for recreation facilities, amenities and programming both to the Town of Mayerthorpe and throughout the County as a whole.”
The County is proud of its long-standing commitment to recreation and social programs vital to the communities across the region. Last year alone, the County contributed in excess of $830,000 in funding for vital regional recreation, library, seniors, community enhancement and related programs. Since 2013, more than $6M ratepayer dollars have been designated in support of local and intermunicipal facilities, amenities and programming. The Town of Mayerthorpe continues to be a key beneficiary of the County’s longstanding commitment to the region’s social fabric.
Lac Ste. Anne County’s fiscal model strikes a balance between the resourceful delivery of programs and services that meet the needs of the County as a whole, and rigorous restraint during an extended period of compound fiscal challenges. Despite the continued economic downturn; provincial cost downloading and assessment model changes; uncollectable linear tax revenue; diminishing funding resources; and the financial impacts of COVID-19, the County remains steadfast in its commitment to providing fair and equitable funding for recreation facilities, amenities and programming. However, any commitment in this regard must be fair and equitable for all County residents.
“Council fully understands the value of recreation and social programs,” shared Reeve Blakeman. “We ourselves use these facilities along with our friends and family members. Our historically proportionate contributions to Mayerthorpe are reflective of the value their facilities provide. However, their demand for a steep increase in these contributions bankrolled by our taxpayers is a non-starter for us.”
“As Councillors we are mandated to safeguard the interests of ratepayers and ensure the long-term viability of Lac Ste. Anne County,” he added. “Nowhere does it say we must absorb another municipality’s shortfalls.”
Lac Ste. Anne County recently finalized its Intermunicipal Collaboration Framework (ICF) negotiations with Barrhead County, and is in the final stages of its ICF with Alberta Beach. This leaves the Town of Mayerthorpe as the sole outlier in the County’s good-faith efforts to collaborate with its municipal neighbours. The County notes that the Town of Mayerthorpe was the one and only municipality that attached a financial stipulation to its ICF negotiations.
For more details on this evolving matter, please visit LSAC.ca/icf.