Reeves, mayors and leaders from municipalities across the province were at Winnipeg City Hall on Friday, calling on the provincial government to give them a bigger piece of the PST to improve infrastructure.
A six-week, multi-media “Fair Share – Fair Say” campaign was launched by the Association of Manitoba Municipalities leading up to this spring’s provincial election. The municipalities want one collective voice advocating for improving infrastructure.
“Many think we’re only looking for new dollars,” said Steinbach Mayor and AMM president Chris Goertzen. “When we believe a more efficient allocation of existing tax dollars could be one way to address our infrastructure challenges.”
Goertzen was backed by his colleagues, including Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman, who recently returned from the Big City Mayors conference in Ottawa.
“I was struck by the federal government’s willingness to prioritize municipal infrastructure spending to make funding more flexible to our needs and requirements,” said Bowman.
“This is a step in the right direction since it recognizes both the growing role cities play in Canada and how connected mayors and reeves are with local residents.”
A recent public opinion poll conducted by the AMM found 85 percent of Manitobans agreed that local councils across the province deserve both their fair share and fair say on how infrastructure funding is spent.
Municipalities receive 8 cents of every dollar, but say they’re responsible for 60 percent of infrastructure across the province. They are pushing for the province to exempt or rebate the $25 million they pay to the province through PST. They would also like to see all infrastructure dollars budgeted by the province to be spent each year — a move that would benefit smaller municipalities.