12/18/2013 04:05 EST | Updated 02/17/2014 05:59 EST

Manitoba announces amalgamation of 14 municipalities; dozens more to go

WINNIPEG - Manitoba says it has amalgamated 14 municipalities under its controversial new plan to consolidate communities with fewer than 1,000 residents.

Municipal Government Minister Stan Struthers says the amalgamations will cut administrative costs, allowing the province to put that money back into providing services.

The province says 85 communities are required to submit an amalgamation plan.

The Association of Manitoba Municipalities is currently taking the province to court over its amalgamation plan, claiming the government is trying to dictate details of the mergers over the wishes of residents.

The government announced in November 2012 that it would require small municipalities to merge with neighbouring communities to save money and improve administration.

Struthers says the plan will cut the number of municipalities outside of Winnipeg by 30 per cent.