MHCA asks province for Building Manitoba Fund details

MHCA
May 16, 2017
By MHCA
May 16, 2017 - The MHCA has asked for details from the Pallister government on its plans for the Building Manitoba Fund. Budget 2017 gave no clear details on the BMF, which is funded through retail sales tax revenues.

“We’re curious about what has happened to the BMF, which previously was a distinct line item within the Municipal Relations department’s budget,” said MHCA president Chris Lorenc. “We’ve sent a number of emails to senior officials asking for detail - seeking the same clarity that that Mayor Brian Bowman has asked for, too.”

Budget 2017’s “Estimates of Revenues and Expenditures” gives a global figure for provincial “funding to municipalities and related grants,” through Municipal Relations. At $361 million, it is about $15 million less than was transferred in 2016/17, for municipal financial assistance, which included the BMF and operating assistance. However, it is difficult to make a direct comparison without detail on which programs are receiving what level of funding in 2017.

“We need to know that detail because the BMF is the program that transfers funding for core infrastructure investments to the municipalities,” Lorenc said. “The level of BMF funding is set in legislation –  it’s one-seventh of PST revenues for the year.”

The Building Manitoba Fund is one of two related issues the MHCA has among its top advocacy concerns. The other is the fate of $1 billion remaining for Manitoba in the federal government’s New Building Canada Fund – half of which is federal; half is provincial –  that has yet to be assigned to infrastructure works in the province. If applications for the funds are not approved by the end of April, 2018, the federal dollars will be transferred to Manitoba municipalities through the gas tax fund.

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