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Mayor Kelly to Attend Big City Mayors Caucus
(HALIFAX, N.S.,Wednesday, February 18/2004)-- Mayor Peter Kelly travels to Quebec this afternoon to join the mayors of Canada's 22 largest cities tomorrow and Friday to discuss the federal government's 'New Deal' for municipalities and its Throne Speech commitments.
The meeting, to be held in Gatineau, Quebec, is the largest-ever meeting of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities' Big City Mayors Caucus. Discussion will focus on the upcoming Federal budget and new methods of better working with the provincial and federal governments.
"The federal government's commitment of a full GST rebate, accelerated infrastructure funding and revenue sharing was well received by municipalities across Canada," said Mayor Kelly. "Municipalities must receive a fair share of existing tax revenues, but without increasing the overall tax burden on Canadians."
Mayor Kelly said that eight out of 10 Canadians now reside within an urban area, so there must be recognition by both the federal and provincial governments that a new, more flexible protocol and an improved working relationship must be forged with the municipalities.
"The municipalities' primary source of revenue is the property tax, which is the most regressive of taxes because it is not based on a person's ability to pay. We have witnessed the constant erosion over the past two decades of federal and provincial cost-sharing programs with municipalities. The federal and most provincial governments have been able to balance their budgets during this time, but it has often been at the expense of municipalities. We must have new revenue-sharing programs to meet the growing demands of our growing urban populations,' he said.
The FCM has asked Mayor Kelly to deliver presentations on Halifax Regional Municipality's tri-partite agreement on emergency preparedness; the regional planning process and urban sprawl; and the recently-released report on homelessness during the two-day talks in Gatineau.
Mayor Peter Kelly
(902) 490-4010 or (902) 222-9999