CFIB asking new councils to watch spending

Above – MCHS photo

by Morinville News Staff

The Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses (CFIB) says unsustainable municipal operating spending cost each Alberta household an additional $10,650 from 2005 to 2015, and that
real operational spending is two-and-a-half times more than what is sustainable.

CFIB released their 8th annual Alberta Municipal Spending Watch Report, revealing that operational spending among Alberta’s municipalities grew by 69 per cent from 2005 to 2015, an amount they say is well above the sustainable benchmark of inflation and population growth.

The business organization believes holding operating growth to sustainable levels over this period would have saved Albertans $15.1 billion dollars, including $2.6 billion in 2015 alone. That works out to $10,650 per household.

“Newly elected municipal leaders have many issues to tackle and ballooning spending should be the top of the list,” said Amber Ruddy, Alberta Director. “Small business owners understand operating spending may increases due to inflationary and population pressures, but the year-over-year increases we’ve seen go well beyond what’s reasonable,”

The report shows Alberta’s population grew by 25 per cent between 2005 and 2015, while real operating spending increased by 69 per cent. More than half of municipal operating spending across Alberta goes towards salaries, wages, and benefits.

Morinville and Sturgeon County both came in on the bottom half of the report at 75 for Morinville and 68 for Sturgeon County with 180 being the worst at unsustainable spending according to the CFIB.

Morinville’s population grew 44 per cent from 2005 to 2015 but operational spending grew by 106%. Sturgeon County’s population grew by only 4 per cent and operational spending went up by 36 per cent.

Other County municipalities included Legal with a 16 per cent population increase and 51 per cent spending increase for 53rd place, Bon Accord in 58th place whose spending went up 26 per cent despite population decreasing 3 per cent, and Gibbons in 125th place with an 87 per cent increase in spending on an 11 per cent population growth. Redwater feel in 117th place with a 49 per cent increase in operational spending on a negative 3 per cent population growth.

“With fresh perspectives on council, small business owners encourage local officials to seek innovative approaches to save money within our own backyards,” Ruddy said. “Since government workers earn significantly higher compensation compared to the private sector, closing this gap is the logical place to start.”

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