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AMM president not impressed with NDP's provincial budget

Jordan Maxwell, Central Plains Herald-Leader....

The Association of Manitoba Municipalities (AMM) was one of many who disapproved of the Manitoba budget last week.

AMM President Doug Dobrowolski said that he was disappointed with the budget because it lacks provisions for larger infrastructure projects that are needed in municipalities in the Central Plains.

"There was not enough investment in infrastructure. We're very disappointed in that. We did get an increase in the Building Manitoba Fund, but $6.3 million of that funding is conditional where a lot of that used to be unconditional," said Dobrowolski.

While there were some increases in funding for smaller projects, there were some key investments that the AMM were hoping to see in the rural areas. One of those things were repairing damaged roads.

"We did see a couple of increases in libraries and a couple of small things, but the big stuff, there was no money for those things," said Dobrowolski.

"There is the bridge program, but it's a 50-50 split shared with the municipalities. They did put another million in that program but for investments in municipal roads, there was no money added. Drainage - something that we've been asking for, there was no money added."

He also mentioned that there was no money added to the Water Services Board and the Conservation District, which is something for which AMM had been advocating.

Dobrowolski was also puzzled as to how the RHA mergers would sort itself out but said that a change in the health authority's structure was definitely needed and welcome.

"We were wondering how the RHA mergers will work out because we've been telling them for years as an AMM that they're not listening to the people they serve and are maybe a little top-heavy but we'll see how it shakes out," said Dobrowolski.

"Something had to be done. I don't if it's the right move and we'll wait to see what's involved with this but we've been saying for years that they've had to relook to RHA because it wasn't working the way it was," he added.

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