Edmonton News | Local Breaking | CTV News Edmonton
Provincial, federal government funding 'urgently' needed for ailing cities: Iveson
EDMONTON -- Edmonton's mayor says he's pushing "an early panic button" over the city's finances as revenue losses continue to mount, with no promise of help from the provincial or federal governments.
The lack of incoming revenue after the city made transit free nearly two months ago is costing about $10 million per month, prompting Don Iveson to issue a dire warning that without financial aid, service could be cut as a "last resort."
The city is projecting a loss of about $30 million by the end of May and upwards of $50 million if the situation is unchanged by September.
Asked whether charging for transit again would help, Iveson said he wasn't convinced ridership would recover quickly enough to make much of a difference.
Iveson said the city is also starting to worry about funding for police, fire and garbage collection.
He and other members of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities are lobbying Ottawa for more than $1 billion in relief. For Edmonton, that would mean a $217-million share, with nearly $60 million of that going to transit.
Iveson said without that help, the city will be forced to cut services, infrastructure projects, or drastically increase property taxes — but maintained he doesn't want to see any of those options become a reality.
"For the last few months, fellow mayors and myself from across the country have been, perhaps too softly, sounding the alarm on our financial difficulties," he said. "Provincial governments as well as the federal government need to be part of this conversation, urgently."
Iveson said he's hopeful a First Minister's meeting held Thursday will produce some answers, like a funding announcement for cities and towns as early as Friday.