According to Edmonton’s mayor, surrounding communities should be contributing dollars to city amenities they use. 

During Friday’s budget discussion, Mayor Don Iveson said “the taxes should be higher in St. Albert and Strathcona County and Leduc and Beaumont because the free ride is over.”

He wants to see the city receive help when it comes to city policing, roads and even recreation centres, which he said demonstrate a “yawning inequity.”

“It is time for us to go have a conversation with our regional partners about funding these region-wide amenities.”

Iveson said too many city services are being used by Albertans paying taxes outside city limits, leaving Edmontonians with higher rates to shoulder the financial burden of such facilities.

A similar idea was explored by previous mayor Stephen Mandel, but never came to fruition.

Ward 3 Councillor Jon Dziadyk agreed with Iveson: “Because we’re all part of the greater Edmonton area, it’d make sense for some contributions from surrounding neighbourhoods.”

Those contributions, and how they’d be split, are up for debate.

Alberta does mandate some cost-sharing between regions.

Cathy Heron, St. Albert’s mayor, said she’d be open to a conversation but that she "(likes) the user fee model a little bit better."

Cost-sharing could also happen in the other direction, as many Edmonton residents commute to surrounding areas for work, or sporting events.

A regional leader’s meeting is planned for next Thursday, where the equity will be discussed.

With files from Timm Bruch