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Review and Revision of the Municipal Board Mandate, Role, Function, and Practices – Update from President

Dear Members,

Advocacy is one of the MMA’s four strategic pillars. One of the objectives within that pillar is to “Be the voice for municipal administration and the trusted source for insight into municipal administrative and operational matters”.

To that end, I wanted to share with you some work we have done recently in response to concerns that our members have raised with us regarding the Manitoba Municipal Board.

Over the past year, several members have raised concerns about delays and outdated practices they have experienced when dealing with the Municipal Board. In some cases, these delays have caused the municipality to miss favorable lending rates, resulting in taxpayers paying tens if not hundreds of thousands more in interest charges over the life of the borrowing.

Where these concerns were provided in writing, and with the permission of the member, we forwarded the concerns to Deputy Minister Bruce Gray, and we met virtually with him to share all the concerns we’ve heard. To be clear, our focus was on the structure and processes of the board and not on the staff. The concerns raised with us are structural in nature and not about the performance of staff.

The Deputy Minister listened to the points we raised and asked questions to better understand our perspective and to hear some of our ideas for potential improvement. During that meeting, the Deputy Minister made it clear that while this information was useful, the Municipal Board is effectively independent of the department and reports directly to the Minister.

Following that meeting, the Executive Council determined that based on the Deputy Minister’s feedback, this matter needs to be elevated to the political level, and as such our efforts need to be coordinated with AMM. In support of this, an AMM resolution was drafted by a member of the Executive Council and circulated to the other Executive Council members for consideration by their councils. At the recent AMM June district meetings, this resolution was approved by multiple districts for consideration at the AMM convention this November.

This resolution calls for a comprehensive review of the mandate and purpose of the Municipal Board. Given that the Municipal Board was created before accounting software and spreadsheets were standard tools in municipal offices, it seems appropriate that the government consider whether the functions of the Municipal Board are still required. Additionally, with the government’s commitment to support effective and efficient municipal services and red tape reduction, an effort to streamline and modernize the processes and functions of the Municipal Board also seems appropriate.

To demonstrate that this is a priority, the MMA is encouraging members to bring this resolution to their councils for consideration. Municipalities who adopt this resolution and notify AMM, may be added as co-sponsors. A copy of the resolution can be found at the bottom of this message.

If you have any questions about the resolution, or if you have specific examples of Municipal Board concerns, please contact Adrienne at ac.sr1720872822otart1720872822sinim1720872822dalap1720872822icinu1720872822m@ofn1720872822i1720872822.

Thank you for any support you can provide with this important advocacy effort.

Duane Nicol, MPA  BA (Hons)

President

Resolution Re: Review and Revision of the Municipal Board Mandate, Role, Function, and Practices

Manitoba Municipal Administrators