The Canadian Federation of Independent Business has released its ninth edition of the Alberta Municipal Spending Watch Report which examines 182 municipalities in Alberta.
The CFIB report examines 182 municipalities in Alberta, with a focus on the province’s most populated regions. Lac Ste. Anne County was among the top 20 of Alberta’s best performing municipalities (with populations of 1,000 or larger). Click Here to view the full report.
The report shows that from 2006 to 2016, the vast majority of Alberta municipalities grew operating spending well above the sustainable benchmark of inflation and population growth. Lac Ste. Anne County was one of only 19 municipalities have kept real operating spending increases at or below population growth. Excessively high municipal operating spending ultimately leads to a combination of lower infrastructure spending and/or increased taxation, both of which dampen economic development and job creation within the economy. In its report, CFIB has made a number of recommendations to municipal governments seeking to curb spending:
- Limit spending to inflation and population growth.
- Review core services. Core services (snow removal, road maintenance, etc.) must be identified and reviewed to ensure effective service delivery within a framework of fiscal restraint.
- Contracted services to the private sector, where cost efficient. Municipalities will be able to offer the same quality of services to residents at a lower cost to the taxpayer if private firms are able to compete for contracts.
- Implement a sustainable wage policy for public sector wage, compensation, and hiring. Municipal governments should implement compensation systems and wage growth policies for employees that are sustainable and align closely with those of private sector workers. Additionally, a cap on the number of full-time municipal employees should be considered so that real operating spending will be more in line with population growth and inflation.
- Put in place appropriate contingency funds in case of natural disasters. Special circumstances that require an increase in operating spending for a particular year should be funded by a reasonable level of emergency or reserve funds. Emergency flood and fire funds for affected regions should be assessed regularly to ensure that built-up funds will allow municipalities to avoid drastic spikes in spending due to natural disasters.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 110,000, members across every industry and region, including 10,000 in Alberta. CFIB is dedicated to increasing business owners’ chances of success by driving policy change at all levels of government, providing expert advice and tools, and negotiating exclusive savings. Learn more at cfib.ca.