Portage la Prairie City Councillor Joe Masi was at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Board meeting in Prince George as one of the Manitoba representatives.

He notes the group meets three times a year and discussed quite a serious issue this time around.

"This meeting was very important. We talked about a number of issues that are really critical right now leading up to the federal budget," says Masi. "The very first thing we discussed was at the moment, there is no renewal of a new federal-provincial-municipal infrastructure program, which is very serious for municipalities including the City of Portage. We took advantage of the previous program to do Saskatchewan Avenue (road renewal project). We knew we got cost-sharing on that road and right now, there is no new program coming."

He notes that means there's no federal program for municipalities to be able to help build and rebuild their infrastructure. Masi says a City like Portage is impacted quite heavily by water and wastewater issues, and we require funding for that.

"So, FCM is really putting a push on right now to make sure that the federal government realizes how important a new program is for municipalities," continues Masi. "The Federation of Municipalities put out a tool kit. It's got the letters to members of Parliament, videos, tweets, and we're really putting the push on between now and April 16th, when the federal budget was announced to be brought in so that municipalities can get a renewal of that infrastructure program that's so badly needed by municipalities."