A new partnership between the Manitoba government and the Association of Manitoba Municipalities (AMM) is resulting in a meaningful review and update to fee-for-service agreements totalling $3 million with municipalities.

“Strengthening partnerships with local governments is essential to enhance relationships with rural municipalities and work toward building a more sustainable and resilient Manitoba,” said Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler. “Innovation and solution finding is what we are aiming to do and are committed to working with all levels of local governments to build a better future for all Manitobans.”

A working group was established to analyze, research and share perspectives and concerns to explore options for improvements to deliver services to Manitobans. The first two priorities undertaken were gravel road maintenance and noxious weed control for rural municipalities.

Gravel road maintenance agreements between Manitoba Infrastructure and local governments date back to 1997. These agreements allow local operational oversight to undertake gravel road maintenance. Local governments are able to maximize resources, employ local workers and create efficiencies that provide residents the best value for money.

Under the new agreements, a new rate structure was established, supported by over $2.2 million including $500,000 in additional funding that will reflect traffic volumes on gravel roads and service levels required.

The second priority identified was to strengthen existing agreements with local governments to address noxious weed control and enhance accountability for program results to ensure Manitoba is compliant with the Noxious Weeds Act. Agreements have been in place with many communities since the late 1980s. With the new agreements, Manitoba will invest $750,000 annually to support local noxious weed control in provincial rights of way.

“The AMM appreciates the collaborative approach taken to update these service agreements as well as improve transparency and consistency across Manitoba. As these agreements are totally voluntary, we are hopeful this new framework will strengthen communication and partnerships between municipalities and the province,” said Kam Blight, president, AMM.

The new agreements will allow for better planning, quicker response, engaging community members and improving citizen satisfaction, noted the minister.