Manitoba's Municipal Relations Minister says the province will be providing a significant funding increase this year to municipalities.
Andrew Smith joined Premier Heather Stefanson Friday morning in announcing a 28 per cent funding increase to the municipal operating basket. This works out to an additional $47 million in the 2023 municipal fiscal year.
"Our government is listening. We are taking action and getting things done for the benefit of all Manitobans," says Stefanson. "We recognize municipalities and communities across our province are facing significant pressures that impact the ability to deliver important projects and services Manitobans rely and depend on. This additional $47 million in unconditional funding will support municipal budgets for the 2023 fiscal year and beyond, and we are pleased to provide this much-needed certainty, now."
All municipalities will receive a minimum 24 per cent increase in 2023 to address inflationary impacts. With this increase of up to $47 million, the 2023 municipal operating grant will grow to $217 million from $170 million.
"Our government recognizes that building stronger communities requires working collaboratively with municipal partners," says Smith. "The significant funding announced today will become a permanent part of the unconditional operating funding base in future years and we are committed to taking steps to modernize the funding formula to support the unique needs of municipalities now and well into the future."
Smaller rural and northern municipalities will receive a range of increases as well as a guaranteed new base grant of $25,000 to reflect higher proportional financial challenges, Smith notes.
"The Association of Manitoba Municipalities applauds the Manitoba government for ending the seven-year freeze on municipal operating basket funding by providing an additional $47 million in unconditional funding to municipalities," says Kam Blight, President of Association of Manitoba Municipalities (AMM). "As inflation has significantly impacted municipal budgets and municipalities are not permitted to run deficits, this historic municipal funding announcement will help local councils respond to current financial pressures, build stronger communities and finalize local budgets with certainty."
"We applaud the new municipal operating funding model announced for Manitoba municipalities," says Justin Johnson, CEO of Association of Manitoba Bilingual Municipalities (AMBM). "Their capacity will be strengthened in many ways, and they will have greater latitude to implement their priorities. More than ever, the AMBM and its members are ready to continue the partnership with the Manitoba government to improve municipal services in both official languages."
The Premier notes the newly modernized grant formula is more transparent and streamlined and includes a revised per capita calculation aligned with 2021 census data and a needs-based calculation that will be reviewed regularly.
Smith says the Department of Municipal Relations will work with municipal stakeholders including AMM and AMBM to enhance the needs-based framework to inform future changes and improvements to municipal operating funding framework.
He notes the development of this framework will balance existing municipal financial needs with municipal capacity to generate revenue, adding the framework will also explore the basis for a funding escalator to assist municipalities in long-term fiscal planning.