YTG gives $4.5 million increase to community funding

  The Yukon government will raise its current funding to Yukon communities by $4.5 million, eventually bringing the total to $16.

  The Yukon government will raise its current funding to Yukon communities by $4.5 million, eventually bringing the total to $16.5 million in 2012.

The new money, which will be phased in over five years, tops up the annual $12.5 million Comprehensive Municipal Grant that helps municipalities with infrastructure and financial constraints.

The money comes close to the funding goal set by association members at a recent meeting, said Association of Yukon Communities president Doug Graham.

“We had to be realistic,” he said. “Our board looks at $5 million as a nice round number we’d like to see. This is adequate for our needs.”

Funding will go towards different projects depending on the community and its needs. Dawson could use funding for a wastewater treatment plant or Whitehorse could use it to offset a projected operations deficit.

“This is the first government in 16 years that has made a substantial increase in the grant,” said Graham.

“This will definitely assist us in meeting the budget problems communities are facing over the next couple years.”

Municipalities will receive an additional $4 million phased in over five years starting April 1, 2008, representing a 32 per cent increase to the current $12.5 million grant.

“We’re delighted to the see the commitment from the minister to work with municipalities,” said Whitehorse Mayor Bev Buckway.

“We had recently approached the minister and asked him to look at the funding. This has been a quick response.”

Unincorporated communities are receiving a comparable increase in funding with an additional $605,000 over five years. Money will be allocated on a priority basis, since these communities have no ability to raise taxes, said Community Services Minister Glenn Hart.

“The increase to the unincorporated communities will ensure services keep pace with those of other communities,” said Hart.

Graham and Hart announced the funding at a Monday morning press conference in the government administration building.

The Consumer Price Index was used to develop the new funding formula, which is up for another review in 2012.