The "Made in BC" Gas Tax Fund

UBCM is preparing for discussions with the federal and provincial governments on the design of a renewed Gas Tax Fund. In last week's Compass we reviewed the elements in the current program that are common with other jurisdictions. This week, we look at what is unique in BC's Gas Tax Agreement: the funding delivery model that was developed in response to policy direction provided at the 2004 UBCM convention.

Based on member feedback, Canada, BC and UBCM worked together during the negotiations of the current Gas Tax Agreement to design a funding model that uniquely combined allocated and pooled delivery. The preference of the membership was to ensure a steady stream of revenue for communities in advance of undertaking projects (with the benefits of predictability, banking the funds; retaining interest and local determination of the project and its timing). However, since most allocations would never provide enough funds for communities to take on large-scale projects, the policy direction also called for the pooling of a portion of funding in application-based programs. The program design also took into account the request of Metro Vancouver and its member municipalities to direct all of their funds toward transportation investments.

There are pros can cons to every method of funding delivery. If every community in BC received allocated funds only, it would provide certainty and flexibility at the expense of the ability to undertake larger scale projects. Conversely, if all of the funds were application based, the program would be able to fund a greater number of large-scale projects, but would do so at the expense of predictability and local determination.

There have been many changes within the world of local government since 2004. That's why UBCM is now consulting with our members through workshops and the recently released online survey to solicit direct input for the design of a renewed program. We are already seeing responses coming in, and look forward to many more before the deadline of August 31, 2013. The results will help us to advocate once again for a funding model that reflects the common interests of our members.

For more information on the tier structure and Gas Tax program delivery model, please visit our website at www.ubcm.ca, email us at GT-PT@ubcm.ca or give us a call at 250-356-5134.

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