A small western P.E.I. municipality is offering to share its gas tax funds with neighbouring towns.
The municipality of Greenmount-Montrose has written to the towns of Tignish, Alberton and O’Leary offering each of them up to $1,750 from its share of the Notional Allocation Fund.
The Notional Allocation Fund, a component of the federal Gas Tax Fund, is for incorporated communities that do not provide sewer and water utility services to its residents. It represents 3.33 per cent of the gas tax money that comes to P.E.I.
Greenmount-Montrose is eligible to receive $39,538 over the next five years; officials there are offering to share some of it with the three towns.
Dave Pizio, the chief administrator officer for Greenmont-Montrose, said it will be up to the towns - if they decide to take Greenmount-Montrose up on the offer - to prepare their applications detailing how they would use the money and submit the application to the province, the administrator of the fund for consideration.
“It’s actually gas tax money given to our municipality and, as long as we fall in line with the regulations, we can use it as we see fit," said Pizio. "As long as we are doing what the gas tax agreement (sets out).”
Cultural or recreational projects seem to fit neatly within the Notional Allocation Fund’s guidelines.
“It could be an upgrade to the ball field, an upgrade to the soccer fields, things like that, but they’re the ones who have to write it up,” Pizio said.
The offer was presented for consideration during the June meetings of the Alberton, Tignish and O’Leary councils. Councillors welcomed the offer but did not immediately decide on how they might make use of the money.
“What we’re trying to say is, ‘You know what? We’re all communities, but some communities are able to do something, and we are benefitting from the arena, the soccer fields the ball diamonds. Our kids go to those sports programs',” Pizio said, explaining the reasoning behind the offer.
“If we can contribute to making those fields better, more accessible to all the people in our area, that’s what we’re here for,” said Leroy Hiltz, mayor of Greenmount-Montrose, population 258.
There are 38 small communities across P.E.I. eligible to receive a Notional Allocation. Amounts, based on population, range from $9,810 over five years for St. Louis in Prince County, to $309,166 over five years for the Grand Tracadie-Pleasant Grove municipality north of Charlottetown.
Pizio said Greenmount-Montrose does not have recreational facilities of its own, like ball diamonds, soccer fields or a rink, but the residents of the community utilize those facilities in the neighbouring towns.
“It was very quickly agreed upon,” Pizio said of the discussion at his community’s May meeting. “When we started discussing it, all of our councillors thought it was great.”
Pizio checked with the Infrastructure Secretariat for Department of Transportation Infrastructure and Energy to make sure his community could share the fund with the neighbouring municipalities before forwarding to the offer to the towns.
“It is great that the rural municipality of Greenmount-Montrose is willing to share their gas tax allocation with other municipalities recognizing Greenmount-Mountrose residents' use of other municipal assets in the area,” spokeswoman Darlene Rhodenizer said, adding the money must go to capital costs.
“If you’re able to help somebody else out, why don’t you do it?” Hiltz said. “That’s what it’s all about.”