There's been several news stories lately about the financial problems that Manitoba municipalities are facing. The Association of Manitoba Municipalities is hard at work with efforts to influence Ottawa to help communities like our own and realize the crippling effects that changes in how municipalities are funded. 

President Kam Blight explains the best funding model that local governments ever received from Ottawa was formerly known as the Gas Tax Fund, which has been renamed the Canada Community-Building Fund. It's currently being altered. He notes this source of funding is losing its benefits due to those changes, but in itself, it's still an archaic model.  

"This is something that we've been talking about and it's just that we need a new generation funding model for municipalities. We're using a really antiquated system right now, and times have changed drastically. There are more and more challenges facing municipalities and our struggles are very real, financially, especially with inflation. Municipalities are responsible for maintaining over 60 per cent of public infrastructure, yet we received less than $0.10 of every tax dollar."

He says a recent announcements by a specific minister of the Federal Government said that they'll no longer be funding large infrastructure projects in municipalities such as roads. 

"There's some massive concern for us," continues Blight. "We are trying to do more with less, and dealing with challenges that are imposed upon us by the federal government that are creating financial burdens on municipalities. We're getting zero support. This is very concerning for us. Our population is growing at a massive rate because of federal initiatives and the cost to house these individuals, the increasing population, and to make sure that the necessary infrastructure is there is being borne by the municipalities, and yet we don't receive any funding. For every single new home build that takes place, roughly $107,000 worth of infrastructure is required. And that is something that municipalities have to bear. We don't see the returns on investment for these housing bills, and the population increase like the federal and provincial governments do. They receive immediate returns on investment and for us, it's only really through taxation."

He adds there may be some spin-off growth opportunities to those investments, but they're not guaranteed. 

Blight says this makes it quite challenging and requires a new funding model that will reflect the growth that our country is experiencing and ultimately, help share some of the revenues that the the federal government is receiving because of this growth, thanks to the inputs and the investment that municipalities are making.