NEWS

B.C. mayors meet to talk money matters

05/16/2012 03:56 EDT | Updated 07/16/2012 05:12 EDT

Mayors from 86 municipalities across the province have come together in Penticton, B.C., this week for the first-ever Mayors' Caucus.

The three-day meeting begins Wednesday evening and will include the mayors of Cranbrook, Fort St. John, Smithers, Penticton, Prince Rupert, Prince George and Victoria.

"We look to learn from each other. We all run organizations with similar rules from the provincial government, but we might look at revenue sources differently, so we can also learn from each other when we come together to these conferences," said Port Coquitlam Mayor Greg Moore.

Organizers say while the annual Union of B.C. Municipalities convention takes a broad policy-based approach to the challenges of municipal governance, this meeting will focus on municipal financial matters, especially the issue of federal and provincial governments downloading responsibilities to their civic counterparts.

"This has been systemic. This isn't about, you know, waging war. This is about how do we better serve the general public and the taxpayer, because I think the taxpayer is at a certain point right now where you can't just pile anymore on," said Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts.

"And so if there are coordinated efforts that can better deal with issues, then we need to have a look at those."

The meeting agenda also includes plans to create a "new deal" for local communities, and to help build the provincial economy.

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