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Alternate Revenue Source No. 1 Issue For AMM

“Sure we get transfers and grants, but we need long-term sustainable funding to really tackle the issues facing our communities.”

– AMM PRESIDENT DOUG DOBROWOLSKI

The Association of Manitoba Municipalities will continue pushing for a one per cent share of provincial sales tax as a source of alternative revenue, AMM president Doug Dobrowolski said in an address to district meetings last month.

The PST-share proposal proved controversial among municipal leaders but the 2008 convention finally supported it.

It’s just one of several “alternate revenue sources” AMM will pursue as it makes seeking new cash sources for municipalities its No. 1 issue this year, Dobrowolski told reeves, mayors and councillors gathered for their annual spring round of meetings last month. Other revenue sources options include removal of the provincial sales tax for municipalities, and a share of the GST for municipalities.

Neither property tax, the single-largest income source for municipalities, nor one-time grants and transfers are paying the bills, Dobrowolski said.

“Sure we get transfers and grants, but we need long-term sustainable funding to really tackle the issues facing our communities.”

The cash shortfall in rural areas was highlighted this spring by what was received, versus the “ask” in applications submitted to the Building Canada Fund (BFC), Dobrowolski noted. Municipalities received $116 million from the BFC this year, yet total demand among their submitted project applications was $864 million.

“That’s total demand over five times the available funds,” said Dobrowolski. More projects would have been submitted if the deadline hadn’t been so tight, he added. “The applications don’t represent everything that needs to be done.”

In his own speech, rural vice-president Roger Wilson noted that many municipalities continue to struggle to get water treatment plant operators trained to proper levels of certification. In many cases, operators have been given conditional licences only and these begin to expire this year, Wilson said.

Other concerns Wilson raised included need for more cash for Conservation Districts and proposed changes to onsite waste water management regulation. Municipal leaders have since been assured that the impact on municipal lagoons now appears minimal, but will continue to lobby against the ejector ban going province-wide, Wilson said.

AMM urban vice-president Shirley Kalyniuk spoke of municipal leaders’ ongoing concern with the administration of Regional Health Authorities, saying AMM supported the recommendations of the RHA review committee, “but there hasn’t been enough progress towa rds impl ement ing change.”

A move to shift recycling from government-led to industry-led programming looks positive, according to Kalyniuk.

A new $10-per-tonne levy will now be charged at landfills across the province to create a greater incentive to recycle and provide increased funding to municipalities. The new levy will cost only those municipalities that still do not recycle, Dobrowolski said. “If you have a good program you will stand to gain out of this program,” he said.

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About the author

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Lorraine Stevenson

Lorraine Stevenson is a reporter and photographer for the Manitoba Co-operator with 25 years experience writing news and features. She was previously a reporter with the Farmers Independent Weekly and has also written for community newspapers in Winnipeg and Manitoba's Interlake.

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