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Manitoba streamlines funding for remote municipal road maintenance

By ReNew Canada 08:58AM June 14, 2018

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The Manitoba government will streamline funding for municipal road maintenance for 12 municipalities, building on the province’s broader commitments to reduce red tape and support municipal decision-making.

“Our government continues to review current processes to find ways to reduce red tape, while still providing a fair say for municipalities,” said Municipal Relations Minister Jeff Wharton. “We made a promise to provide municipalities with streamlined processes for accessing infrastructure dollars […]. After review and consultation with the 12 municipalities, we are changing the way this funding is delivered to provide greater certainty and flexibility for the communities.”

Previously, the $2.75 million in annual funding was provided through the Main Market Roads Program to provide ongoing assistance for road maintenance and renewal for the 12 municipalities. This program was created for municipalities with limited revenue opportunities due to geographic location.

The funding is long-standing and was originally provided through Manitoba Infrastructure, but was eliminated from the Department of Infrastructure’s budget in fiscal year 2012-13 as a cost-reduction measure. The province and the 12 municipalities reached a five-year agreement to re-establish funding through the Department of Municipal Relations which expired March 31.

Beginning this year, this funding will be moved into each municipality’s operating grant based on the share they received in 2017-18. The minister noted this change streamlines the funding process, while maintaining financial support and reducing uncertainty for these communities, allowing them to plan for future projects.

“This decision provides consistent and sustainable annual funding to the municipalities,” said Jim Swidersky, chair, former Local Government Districts Working Group. “It eliminates the uncertainty of whether or not we will receive the funding for important road maintenance and allows the flexibility to prioritize our needs. It also helps these municipalities survive while ensuring that local property tax levels are not overly inflated if this funding was not available.”

The Manitoba government’s basket-funding model was established in 2017 as a simplified approach that provides municipalities with a fair say in how dollars are invested, ensures strategic outcomes, and maximizes value for money. This basket-funding model includes a municipal operating grant that gives municipalities the flexibility they need to respond to emerging priorities and invest in their priority projects.

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