07/23/2015 06:08 EDT | Updated 07/23/2015 06:59 EDT

Alberta Municipal Funding Gets $880 Million From Government


The money has begun to flow to Alberta's municipalities for infrastructure projects.

Municipal Affairs Minister Deron Bilous said Thursday that $880 million will be dispatched this year to communities under the Municipal Sustainability Initiative.

That's $25 million more than had been proposed in the budget put forward by the Progressive Conservatives in the spring.

Bilous said the new NDP government remains committed to providing sustainable, stable funding to communities.

"If oil drops or stays low, it definitely impacts provincial revenues, but municipalities still have the same number of people that they need to provide services for,'' he said.

Municipal funding is to be addressed in the 2015-16 budget, which the NDP has said will be introduced in October.

The Tory budget was waiting to be passed when the Progressive Conservatives were defeated in the May 5 election.

Nolan Crouse, mayor of St. Albert and chairman of the Capital Region Board, said the money sends a positive message.

"What's been important is that the minister has been really clear that the government supports municipalities,'' he said.

Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson said the extra $25 million spread across the province is small, but important, because it keeps pace with inflation.

"Part of sustainable and predictable funding is not just announcing money and following through on it. It's also making sure that that funding keeps pace with the cost of doing business in Alberta.''

The Municipal Sustainability Initiative, brought in eight years ago, has delivered almost $6.7 billion to municipalities for public transit, roads and bridges, water and sewer systems, libraries and recreation centres.

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