August 2, 2015


Latest News

Mayors criticize province on infrastructure

The mayors of the province’s largest cities presented a united front at Winnipeg’s city hall today to demand that the province provide them with the long-term, reliable funding they need to repair crumbling municipal roads, bridges, sewers and water systems.

Mayor Sam Katz played host to Brandon Mayor Shari Decter Hirst, Morden Mayor Ken Wiebe, Steinbach Mayor Chris Goertzen, Portage la Prairie Mayor Earl Porter, Winkler Mayor Martin Harder, Thompson Mayor Tim Johnston as well as Association of Manitoba Municipalities (AMM) president Doug Dobrowolski. The municipal leaders jointly condemned the province for using a PST hike to fund predominately provincial projects and leaving the funding of municipal infrastructure high and dry.

Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz leads a news conference with Manitoba mayors demanding that the province of Manitoba help more with infrastructure funding.

JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz leads a news conference with Manitoba mayors demanding that the province of Manitoba help more with infrastructure funding. Photo Store

The Selinger government has unleashed a storm of protest over its decision to raise the PST by a percentage point to eight per cent effective July 1 to fund what it calls "critical infrastructure."

But the province defines infrastructure more broadly to include schools, hospitals and flood fighting as well as roads, bridges, sewer and water works.

The municipalities have long called for the revenue from a percentage point of the PST – about $277 million a year – from the province to be set aside for municipal infrastructure.

"Every municipality in Manitoba is struggling right now," Katz told reporters. "The reality is that as the province of Manitoba makes plans for the future, Manitoba municipalities are being left behind."

The mayors and the AMM said they would be hit hard by the provincial budget as they will now pay more PST on their purchases. For some municipalities without sufficient reserves, this may mean hitting up ratepayers again to avoid running a deficit this year.

In the city of Winnipeg’s case, the additional PST adds up to $1.4 million annually.

A spokeswoman for government Minister Ron Lemieux said Manitoba municipalities currently receive an amount greater than one point of PST for local infrastructure through the Building Manitoba Fund.

"An increase in the PST allows Manitoba to continue to build and improve Manitoba's critical infrastructure needs such as needed flood protection, but also includes revenue that makes building schools like Sage Creek a reality," Naline Rampersad said in an email, referring to Wednesday’s school announcement in southeast Winnipeg.

She said overall, the City of Winnipeg will receive $21.5 million more this year (an increase of 12.5%) for city capital projects. Total capital support to Winnipeg will increase to $194 million.

"All in, including money for operating (costs), support for the City will be $286 million this year for everything from roads, to transit, to libraries," Rampersad said.

History

Updated on Thursday, April 25, 2013 at 1:58 PM CDT: Adds provincial government's response.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective January 2015.

Scroll down to load more

Top