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Cranky town

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We all just got the program for the Association of Manitoba Municipalities’ annual convention in Brandon later this month. That sounds fairly routine and usually is, except when the towns debate a new deal-style sales tax like they did last time.

But in the back of the program, there’s a big list of resolutions proposed by all the towns and RMs. Some of them are pretty crabby.

There’s one decrying the new provincial police act that calls on each town with a police department to create a police board with some community oversight. Some towns say the boards will have "no accountability to the municipality" and want the province to ditch the idea of mandatory board. That sounds not unreasonable, until you remember this.

There’s also a resolution demanding a review of the Public Utilities Board mandate to make the PUB an "advisory body" instead of a regulator. Sounds like the PUB has been meddling in small town utilities a little too much for everyone’s liking.

I actually agree that the PUB has been aggressively extending its reach, especially when it comes to regulating Manitoba Hydro, but I think it’s kind of a good thing. The provincial government doesn’t exactly ride herd over Hydro, so someone has to.

Towns also don’t like some of the new septic field rules meant to stop poop flowing into the watershed, and lots of towns don’t want to pay the province’s new waste reduction and recycling support levy. That’s the levy on big landfills that’s meant to fund provincial recycling efforts.

There’s a resolution asking the Selinger government to kill it, and one to loosen the septic field rules. I don’t even know what to say about that.

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About Mary Agnes Welch

Mary Agnes Welch joined the Free Press in 2002, first as a general assignment reporter and then covering city hall and the Manitoba legislature before moving to her current post as public policy reporter.

Before Winnipeg, she worked at the Windsor Star and the Odessa American, a small daily newspaper in West Texas. There, in addition to covering more than 20 counties, she took high school football scores from coaches all over West Texas by phone every Friday night.

Mary Agnes is a graduate of Columbia University’s journalism school, has won several Western Ontario Newspaper Awards and has been part of two teams of reporters nominated for a Michener Award. In 2011, she was nominated for a National Newspaper Award in the beat category. She is also the former national president of the Canadian Association of Journalists.

She once misspelled "Shih Tzu" in the paper and received 37 emails from angry dog-owners.

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