Having a strong relationship with the provincial government is what members of the Association of Manitoba Municipalities (AMM) says is most important going forward.
"I think it's very significant," says Souris-Glenwood Mayor Duane Davison. "We're a group of small municipalities that really, our voices, it's hard to make it heard in Winnipeg and the AMM acts as a really nice intermediary for us and gets us heard at the provincial level, so that's huge."
It has been shared by some AMM members that the Province isn't listening to the needs of their municipalities as the AMM advocates for them. Davison disagrees.
"Absolutely they're listening," he states. "I'm not as skeptical as [others] because I really do think they are listening. The AMM has a huge voice, and they do a great job for us. I think absolutely the provincial government is listening. I think they recognize that they work for us, and the AMM has made that apparent."
Manitoba Municipalities’ Four Priorities for 2023 are: Fair and Predictable Municipal Funding, Invest in Core Infrastructure, Invest in People, and Public Safety.
"The biggest thing for us actually is the consistent and escalating funding," shares Davison. "We've lost that in the last several years, they've increased it this year, but we need that to plan a budget forward. We rely on that money from the provincial government, and we need to know for our long-term planning what we can expect down the road. And that's the biggest thing for us. Obviously, public safety, health care and infrastructure and other things, that's an ongoing cost. But we can't work on any of our long-term plans without assisted funding. So, I think that's the biggest part for us."
Building strong rural communities is important for every community across the province, and the AMM is the provincial body that advocates for our rural communities.
Scott Phillips, Councilor for the RM of Sifton, says growing communities are stronger communities, and we need to help each other grow, to benefit the entire region. One of the four pillars of the AMM is investing in people, says Phillips. "So, investing in people, like grow your own because we're really wanting to get more grass roots southwest Manitoba people involved in professional jobs, and public safety is huge."
"You know, there's no quick fix to all of these but if we work together and we have some sort of plan in place things should work out, and we hope for the best," adds Phillips.
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