The Manitoba government is increasing municipal operating basket funding by 28 per cent providing an additional $47 million in the 2023 municipal fiscal year, Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson and Municipal Relations Minister Andrew Smith announced today.
“Our government is listening. We are taking action and getting things done for the benefit of all Manitobans,” said 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,” said 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.”
The City of Winnipeg will receive an additional $16.7 million in unconditional operating funding and an additional $13 million in transit operational funding.
“A strong Manitoba depends on a strong Winnipeg, so I’m grateful the Manitoba government has recognized the need for more funding to support transit and other essential city services,” said Mayor Scott Gillingham, City of Winnipeg. “I look forward to further conversations with the Manitoba government about how we can work together to make strategic improvements to the funding framework.”
The City of Brandon will receive over $2.3 million in new unconditional funding.
“The City of Brandon is thrilled with today’s announcement from the Manitoba government,” said Mayor Jeff Fawcett, City of Brandon. “We commend the Manitoba government for taking this important step to support municipalities. As the second-largest city in the province, this new funding support will help the City of Brandon with long-term planning while helping us deliver the best services to our residents.”
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 noted.
“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,” said Kam Blight, president, 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,” said Justin Johnson, CEO, 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 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, the premier noted.
The Department of Municipal Relations will work with municipal stakeholders including AMM, AMBM, the City of Winnipeg and the City of Brandon to enhance the needs-based framework to inform future changes and improvements to municipal operating funding framework, noted Smith.
The development of this framework will balance existing municipal financial need with municipal capacity to generate revenue, said Smith, adding the framework will also explore the basis for a funding escalator to assist municipalities in long-term fiscal planning.