The municipal amalgamation process is nearing completion with the mergers of 39 municipalities into 19, Municipal Government Minister Stan Struthers announced.
“Local leaders submitted the final amalgamation plans they developed to ensure the newly created municipalities will be more efficient, which means more money invested into the services families count on,” said Minister Struthers. “By joining forces, these new, larger municipalities will reduce red tape and be better able attract more business opportunities and have better access to and co-ordination of infrastructure funding from the provincial and federal governments.”
The minister said some other ways municipal mergers would strengthen communities include:
- reducing operational costs through sharing major assets like water-treatment and recreation facilities;
- helping to recruit and retain skilled municipal staff;
- developing common regional regulations, infrastructure and services; and
- finding savings and efficiencies through economies of scale.
A total of 85 of the province’s municipalities have fewer than 1,000 residents and are required to submit an amalgamation plan by this spring, the minister said, adding plans are expected to result in a 30 per cent reduction in the number of municipalities outside Winnipeg.
The province is working with the remaining municipalities to help them complete the planning process. Independent external consultants are helping those municipalities identify amalgamation partners, work through issues and prepare amalgamation plans. These consultants have between 15 to 35 years experience in municipal governance administration and finance in small to large municipalities. Several have participated in previous Manitoba amalgamation processes.
“We will continue to approve local amalgamation plans through the spring of 2014,” said Minister Struthers. “We will also work with the new councils of the newly merged municipalities to ensure they are ready to take office Jan. 1, 2015, following the next general municipal election in October 2014.”