Posted on 03/19/2015, 9:45 am, by mySteinbach

Ensuring municipal priorities are front and centre during the upcoming provincial election has dominated the discussion at the RBC Convention Centre this week. Members of the AMM Cities Caucus agreed the most critical priority continues to be infrastructure and the need for alternate revenue.

“There is a constant struggle to finance much needed infrastructure projects with one source of revenue – property taxes – and it greatly impacts growth in our cities,” explained City of Steinbach Mayor Chris Goertzen, who was acclaimed to serve a two-year term at the helm of the AMM Cities Caucus.

The group reiterated its call for a rebate on the PST municipalities pay on infrastructure projects, as well as a greater share of the PST overall, to be dedicated to municipal infrastructure. “Municipalities already receive a rebate on the GST they pay to the federal government, and we feel the Province should follow suit – it is simply inappropriate for one order of government to tax another,” stressed  Goertzen. “This rebate would immediately free up some dollars our members could put toward badly needed infrastructure projects.”

And, although the provincial government raised the PST by one percentage point in 2013, municipalities receive only a fraction of the new point of the PST, despite AMM polling showing that 69% of Manitobans would rather see this money managed by municipalities.

While the Cities Caucus allows members to share specific concerns and find ways to lobby for the things cities need, Doug Dobrowolski, President of the AMM, stresses that “a resolution to this issue would certainly benefit every municipality in Manitoba, large and small.”