Flood costs still showing up in Sask. budget

Flooding costs incurred during the last three years continue to affect the Saskatchewan government’s budget.

The mid-term financial report released by finance minister Ken Krawetz today notes $70 million in expenses related to Provincial Disaster Assistance Program claims from 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Although the province gets some help from the federal government through the cost-shared PDAP, that won’t cover all the costs.

Officials don’t expect all the claims to be settled this year. Previous estimates pegged the overall costs at more than $360 million, but Krawetz said he isn’t sure what the final tally will be.

“We still have somewhere between 2,500 and 3,000 claims for PDAP that have to be processed through the federal government,” Krawetz said.

Some audits are also taking place.

The minister said larger than expected crop production this year will help the bottom line. Crop production is estimated at 26.4 million tonnes, down 0.9 percent from 2011 but higher than budget estimates.

The agriculture ministry has seen lower than expected costs so far this year due to lower uptake on pest control grants and jobs that weren’t filled. To mid-year, the ministry is $4.3 million below budget.

Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corp., however, is $79 million above budget.