BREAKING: Province denying Ponoka funding, further action being touted

MSI and other funding sources now gone until town rescinds motion to withhold property tax money

The provincial government has finally responded to Ponoka’s threat to hold back the education portion of property taxes until it gets money for a fieldhouse.

In a letter sent Jan. 10 from Municipal Affairs Minister Shaye Anderson, Mayor Rick Bonnett and council were informed that grants are now being held back from Ponoka until the motion made in November is reversed. The letter is part of the agenda for council’s meeting tonight at 6 p.m.

RELATED: Ponoka council approves holding back tax money from province

“While the motion remains in force, pursuant to Section 175 of the School Act, l am providing notice that the Government of Alberta will withhold grant payments under programs that the Town of Ponoka is eligible for,” the letter outlines.

“Your council is strongly advised to take action to immediately rescind the recent motion to withhold the town’s education property tax requisitions. If this unacceptable situation continues, the province will consider any and all other remedies available to ensure that education property tax funding is received.”

The letter also points out that the province will not be changing its funding model regarding Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) funds for projects like the one Ponoka has put forward.

“As you have been made aware, municipal projects under the Culture, Community, and Recreation component cannot be prioritized and forwarded for federal consideration unless a commitment to use MSI as the required provincial cost share amount has been made,” the letter adds.

“Given your decision to not make the commitment to use MSI, the Town’s project has not moved forward for federal consideration. As such, there is no federal funding set aside or available to be released for your fieldhouse project.”

It goes on to say that the province can reduce grants if a municipality defaults on these payments and any overdue amounts will be charged at the prime interest rate plus five per cent.

Capital funding denied

With that said, the town found out last October — a full month before council passed the motion to withhold the payments though the idea had already been floated — that it had been denied a request for about $1.765 million in MSI capital funding to pay for interior improvements needed to new Civic Centre building.

The reason stated by Alberta Municipal Affairs was the asset (building) must be owned by either a municipality, non-profit organization, regional services commission, a controlled corporation or a provincial agency to eligible under the program and not a private corporation.

At tonight’s meeting, council is being presented with a few options including using unrestricted reserves, issuing short-term debentures, a combination of both or exercising a clause in the lease to purchase the building.

Administration is recommending the money come from reserves — unrestricted operation and capital — that current sit around $4.9 million.

Just Posted

Lending a helping hand

Presentation to the Castor Foodbank was made on April 17th

Kenney talks pipelines with Trudeau after election win, calls it cordial

Almost a year ago Kenney dismissed Trudeau as a dilettante and a lightweight

Alberta’s 2019 election looks to be one for the history books.

Results due shortly after polls close at 8 p.m.

UCP candidate Nate Horner triumphs in Drumheller-Stettler riding

Horner looking forward to moving ahead with UCP policies in the coming months

Alberta’s Notley talks pipelines, energy on last day of election campaign

Noteley toured a pipe fabrication yard in Calgary, a key battleground in Tuesday’s election

‘Open for business:’ Jason Kenney’s UCP wins majority in Alberta election

The UCP was leading or elected in 63 of 87 seats Tuesday night

Undercover cops don’t need warrant to email, text suspected child lurers: court

High court decision came Thursday in the case of Sean Patrick Mills of Newfoundland

VIDEO: Trump tried to seize control of Mueller probe, report says

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s report revealed to a waiting nation Thursday

Alberta RCMP reminds Albertans how to be ‘egg-stra’ safe this Easter

Put away phone while driving, plan for a designated driver

B.C. awaits Kenney’s ‘turn off taps,’ threat; Quebec rejects Alberta pipelines

B.C. Premier John Horgan said he spoke with Kenney Wednesday and the tone was cordial

Federal government extends deadline to make Trans Mountain decision to June 18

The National Energy Board endorsed an expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline on Feb. 22

Precautionary evacuation for Red Deer, Alta., residents due to industrial fire

City officials are advising people to close windows and doors and to turn off air intakes into homes

Study links preschool screen time to behavioural and attention problems

The research looked at more than 2,400 families

Could a pharmacist’s consultation help more people get vaccinated?

Canadian study suggests giving pharmacists a monetary incentive to consult would cut influenza cases

Most Read