The Town of Hay River is ready to take another crack at getting proper funding from the GNWT.
For years, the town has objected to being underfunded about $5 million per year under the territorial government’s formula funding.
At town council’s special meeting on April 10, the issue again came up as councillors were approving funding contribution agreements.
“One of the things we discussed with the government and the government had agreed upon is that, if there were any contributions that the GNWT got from the federal government that would add to our dollars, it was only supposed to be communities that were underfunded off the list that they comprised,” Mayor Brad Mapes told council. “If you noticed, they’ve opened the door to funding every other community. So I think what we should do is make sure that we note that it’s something that we’re going to go forward and talk with cabinet about it.”
Coun. Keith Dohey agreed that Hay River and some other communities are being severely underfunded.
“And while it’s nice to see some of these numbers creeping up incrementally, I think we still need to obviously hammer the government on the fact that they are well aware of the situation and there seems to be very little movement on anything with it,” he said.
Deputy Mayor Donna Lee Jungkind suggested a strategy before approaching the territorial cabinet on the issue.
“I wonder if we shouldn’t have a conversation or a chat with some of the other communities that are also underfunded on this list and ask them if there needs to be maybe a conversation between our communities and some suggestions about how we move forward from here,” she said.
Mapes agreed to contact the six other underfunded communities and try to set up a conference call.
“It would probably make sense that if we were going to go and lobby the government to have everybody on the same page,” he said.
At the April 10 meeting, council approved contribution agreements of $2,179,000 for operations and maintenance, $1,021,000 for water and sewer, and $1,260,000 for community public infrastructure.