The Operations and Maintenance (O&M) portion of AANDC funding for Public Works & Housing is based on a formula that was created in 1992, was capped in 1996, and hasn’t seen an increase in funding since 1986.
Here’s how I understand this formula works: AANDC takes an R.M./town approximately the same size as our First Nation (same number of buildings, homes, population, machinery, infrastructure and employees). Based on these numbers they calculate how much that R.M./town should receive in funding and/or taxes collected, to operate efficiently – whatever that amount is, we as a Band receive 20% of that total to put towards our operations and maintenance; this means we have to come up with 80% of operational dollars on our own.
Example: if it is calculated that it will cost $100,000/yr. to operate a Water Treatment Plant then we receive $20,000 of funding; this means that we are already starting with an $80,000 deficit.
It has always been an expectation of AANDC that this shortfall should come from the membership in the form of a ‘user fee’. It is my understanding that not so long ago an agreement to implement this fee was passed at a Band Meeting; unfortunately nothing has been done to ensure that this ‘fee for service’ was fully implemented.
Naturally, because we are a close knit community this is a touchy subject to discuss, but still needs to be addressed and implemented if we are to come out of this deficit that is being created partially by our own inaction.
As mentioned in the newsletter, we receive $1,016,770/yr. but in order for us to operate effectively we should be working with at the very least 2 times this amount.
Think of it, if we were to re-implement the $100 User Fee to each and every household, Public Works would have an approximate $400,000 a year extra to assist with all of the issues that our community faces in regards to building and road maintenance, purchasing new, or repairing existing machinery, hiring another f/t maintenance person, build a home, there are many things we could do…
We hope to have another information meeting in March to discuss this, and the CMHC program to follow up on the December 2nd meeting.
C. Roy Petit, Councillor i/c Public Works & Housing
Beardy’s & Okemasis First Nation