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Atlantic Mayors to Press for Share of Provincial Gasoline Taxes
(HALIFAX, Saturday, April 26/2003)-- Municipalities in Atlantic Canada can no longer depend on property taxation as their primary sources of revenue, and will petition the Federal government and their respective provincial government for a portion of the Gasoline Tax.
Delegates attending a meeting of the Atlantic Mayors' Congress here today unanimously supported a motion by Summerside Mayor Basil Stewart that a share of Federal/provincial Gasoline Taxes, directly proportionate to the cost of building and maintaining roads, be awarded annually the municipalities in the region.
Mayor Peter Kelly, of the Halifax Regional Municipality and Chair of the Atlantic Mayors' Congress, said the Federal and provincial governments can no longer sit on huge surpluses each year, while many municipalities throughout Atlantic Canada can no longer make ends meet, depending solely on property taxation as a source of revenue.
"Municipalities have asked their taxpayers for just about as much as they can manage.
Meanwhile, we see Federal and provincial revenues increasing, due in large part to downloading in recent years, and we see municipalities struggling to maintain the aging infrastructure that they have. Many can't maintain what they have now, let along build new roads, " he said.
At the end of their deliberations Friday, Atlantic Mayors sent a strong message to the Federal government and the provinces , stating that municipalities must be an equal partner and part of the decision-making process in all national infrastructure programs.
The Mayors said billions of dollars are required for municipal infrastructure projects across the country and the federal government cannot continue to defer to provincial priorities only in deciding which projects to fund.
Mayor Kelly said " The Federal government , in particular, has to step up to the plate with sustainable and predictable programs with adequate funding to address the current crisis in the battle to replace or repair existing infrastructure, as well as meet the growing need to provide new infrastructure due to unprecedented new growth."
The next meeting of the Atlantic Mayors' Congress will be in Summerside this Fall.
Mayor Peter Kelly
Chair, Atlantic Mayors' Congress
(902) 490-4010 or (902) 222-9999