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Mayor Kelly Addresses National Forum on Municipal Funding Needs
(MONTREAL, P.Q. Thursday, June 10/04)-- Halifax Regional Municipality has the second-lowest share of financial assistance from both the federal and provincial governments for all single A-rated municipalities in Canada, Mayor Peter Kelly said here today.
Mayor Kelly, speaking at the National Forum on the Economic Growth of Big Cities in Canada, said there is an urgent need both in HRM and across the country for significant funding to provide citizens with high-quality municipal infrastructure, transportation and public transit systems. The conference is being attended by the 22 members of the Big City Mayors' Caucus of the Canadian Federation of Municipalities.
Speaking on the theme topic of "Reinvesting to Acquire the Means to Achieve Our Ambitions," Mayor Kelly said Canadian municipalities must demonstrate their ability to be responsible and accountable if they are to seek new funding programs and revenue sources from the federal and provincial governments.
"Expanded revenue sources should be based on the expectation that municipalities have concrete, well-developed plans that identify needs, outcomes, sustainability, efficiency and accountability," he said. "Any new (tri-partite) program must be focused on the particular needs of the individual communities, because HRM's challenges are much different from those of Toronto or Montreal or Vancouver. HRM's areas of greatest need are for public transit, streets and roads, and greater investment in culture and heritage programs."
At the Forum which ends Friday, the 22 Big City Mayors will sign a declaration to support the prosperity of city regions, the provinces and Canada. This declaration is entitled Investing in the competitiveness and attractiveness of Canadian city regions for the well-being of our citizens.
Priority issues at the Forum include:
Mayor Kelly said "If we are to successfully meet these many challenges, we must establish a true partnership between the federal, provincial and municipal governments. This partnership must recognize the changing role and responsibilities of municipalities and their function as economic engines of the provinces and Canada. This partnership must also receive the financial support of all partners without increasing the overall tax burden of Canadians."
Delegates to the Forum met privately this morning with Michael Harcourt, Chair of the federal External Advisory Committee on Cities and Communities, and Prime Minister Paul Martin is scheduled to address the Big City Mayors tomorrow.
To contact Mayor Kelly in Montreal, please call 222-9999.