Utilities face cuts to subsidies

Tara Kearsey
Northern News Services

Yellowknife ( May 29/00) - Water and sewer subsidies are also coming under MACA's budget cutting knife.

There are 24 NWT communities eligible for the subsidies from MACA.

Hay River will get 4.73 per cent less from the territorial government, said Terence Courtoreille, the town's director of finance.

That means Hay River will receive a $566,000 subsidy for this year, compared to $594,000 last year.

Fort Liard administrative officer John McKee said the hamlet will also experience a subsidy reduction, but won't be affected the same way as other municipalities.

The community is working with MACA to set a funding arrangement similar to block funding received by some other municipalities, and because of that, the potential impact of funding cuts will be softened.

"That's why I can't actually say they're cuts because with the total we're getting our money in a new format, and with that, we're still OK. The total bottom line figure for all our funding is adequate at the moment," said McKee.

The hamlet of Paulatuk doesn't know what impact the cutback will have.

Paulatuk has not received water and sewage subsidies in a few years because it has a surplus.

Albert Ruben, the hamlet's senior administrative officer, said water and sewer rates have been cut to use up the surplus, but what will happen once the surplus is gone remains to be seen.

"With respect to the cuts, I don't know to what extent that's going have an effect on us," said Ruben.

Other municipalities receiving water and sewage subsidies have not been informed of any cuts.

"We haven't been notified of any cuts," said David Kravitz, chief executive officer for the Yellowknives Dene First Nation in Dettah.

"We were told that the dollars are still to be decided. We haven't heard a thing. We haven't even received this year's agreement. "It may be that they're (reducing it) but they haven't advised us of any cuts to water and sewage funding," said Kravitz.

Fort Providence is also awaiting word on funding.

"I don't believe there's any cuts being planned for here, or if there is they haven't notified us," said Albert Laferty, Fort Providence's administrative officer.