November 12th, 2014 ~ Vol. 84 No. 44
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Alberta spending out of control
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
EZRA BLACK
Pass Herald Reporter
Despite a shrinking population, operational spending by the municipality has been increasing at an alarming rate says a report by a national lobby group.
The report by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) shows that the Pass’ population shrunk by 12 per cent between 2000 and 2012 but that operational spending increased 26 per cent.
“Many municipalities say they have to increase spending because of a growing population but the Crowsnest Pass cannot use that argument,” says Amber Ruddy, senior policy analyst for CFIB. “It’s not justifiable to have such a large increase in operating spending growth.”
Ruddy says the lion’s share of the increasing costs is coming from the salaries, benefits and wages of public employees.
Financial statements show that municipal employees earned a total of about $4 million in 2007 compared to about $5.6 million in 2014; an increase of about 43 per cent.
But the Pass is not alone. Over half of municipal budgets in Alberta are going directly to the line items of wages, salaries and benefits, says the report.
continued below...


Ruddy says that operating and spending costs rose much faster than population and inflation over the past 12 years.
“Each household would have seen [$9,315] in savings over the past 12 years if municipal governments were taking their task more seriously of controlling their budgets and growing at a sustainable pace,” says Ruddy.
The Pass was ranked 76th out of 181 municipalities. On the bright side it received the best score within the Rocky Mountain Region, beating out Jasper, Banff and Canmore.
The M.D. of Opportunity was ranked the worst performing municipality. Their population shrank 17 per cent while real spending increased 211 per cent. The report gave Medicine Hat the best rank as their population increased 22 per cent while spending decreased by 14 per cent.
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November 12th ~ Vol. 84 No. 44
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