POLITICS

B.C. mayors want new deal with province and Ottawa on local spending issues

05/18/2012 06:01 EDT | Updated 07/18/2012 05:12 EDT
PENTICTON, - B.C. mayors say they want a new partnership with the federal and provincial governments to deal with spending on local issues from roads to social services.

The call was made Friday at the end of the inaugural meeting of the B.C. Mayor's Caucus, which drew 86 mayors from across B.C. to Penticton.

The mayors say the current ad hoc process for granting funds to municipalities should be replaced by a system that will give cities and towns some certainty about what money they will get in order to allow for long-term planning.

They want a co-ordinated approach to how social services are delivered, sustainable funding if those services are downloaded from the federal or provincial governments, a new cost-sharing formula for major public works projects and more flexibility in using the federal gas tax.

The mayors also want to create two discussion forums — one with the premier to discuss public policy changes that affect local governments, and one with the federal and provincial governments to talk about aging infrastructure.

Kamloops Mayor Peter Milobar says it's time for a change in how governments interact, saying municipalities must be partners with senior governments in finding more efficient ways to deliver services.