Finance, Infrastructure Funding Continue as UBCM Top Priorities

Three multi-year initiatives – local government finance and the renewal of the Gas Tax Fund and Building Canada Fund – will continue as top priorities for UBCM through the 2013-2014 year.

Last year UBCM's Executive appointed a Select Committee to study the system for local government finance in British Columbia.  Following the unanimous endorsement of the Select Committee's report, Strong Fiscal Futures, at the 2013 Convention, UBCM is shifting its focus to deepen the level of engagement by the provincial government.  At its meeting in Richmond last week, UBCM's Executive provided a term extension for the Select Committee on Local Government Finance until September 30, 2014 and endorsed a Terms of Reference.  UBCM's Presidents Committee will make appointments to the Select Committee for the extended period.  The Select Committee will report back to UBCM's Executive at its July 2014 meeting.

Over the coming year, UBCM will also focus resources on the renewal of the Gas Tax Fund.   The federal government has indicated an interest in signing renewed Gas Tax agreements in each province/territory to ensure that the typical flow of payments to local governments is not interrupted.  Executive was advised of the results of the recently completed member consultation program for the renewal of the Gas Tax Fund, and approved a negotiating strategy based on those results. 

A further priority for UBCM will be ensuring that Building Canada funding is targeted to local government infrastructure projects.  The process for the determination of the design of the Building Canada program is still emerging.  UBCM will work closely with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities as the design process gets underway.

Other priorities for the coming year include work with the Province of BC as it seeks to develop legislation regarding campaign expense limits in time for the 2017 local government general election; the work of the UBCM Recycling Negotiating Committee; and the investigation of a uniform Call Answer Levy on wireless devices to support and improve 911 services.  Internal priorities for the coming year include reviews of Executive policies and the Member Benefits program.

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