The inequity of the allocation of tax revenue is one of the key areas of discussions this week as 86 mayors gather in Penticton for the inaugural BC Mayors Caucus.
A New Deal for BC Communities is one of three topics on the agenda this week and it’s one Nelson Mayor John Dooley said he has a fair bit of experience with.
“At the Federation of Canadian Municipalities we’ve been talking about the inequity of the allocation of tax revenue back to municipalities and communities for many years,” he said as he made his way to Penticton on Wednesday.
“About eight cents of every dollar that is collected in taxation is actually returned to the municipalities and in actual fact we’re responsible for the largest portion of, for example, infrastructure to deliver clean drinking water, roads, sewers, sidewalks and transit to our residents.
“Unless all levels of government are willing to sit down and take a look at the allocation of that taxation, it’s going to be a real struggle for most communities to get on top of the infrastructure deficits that they are facing.”
Dooley said this will be an area he hopes the Caucus stays focused on throughout the events because he feels a firm commitment is needed from the provincial and federal governments to help municipalities address some of the other challenges they face with limited funds.
Because this is the first year for the BC Mayors’ Caucus, Dooley said earlier this week that he’s going into it with an open mind.
“I think the genesis for it was that the Union of BC Municipalities has been the forum in the past to have conversations around municipal affairs around the province,” he said.
“I think many of the mayors in BC felt that that forum was so large that in some cases they weren’t getting to the meat and potatoes of the challenges the communities face on a regular basis.”
It is Dooley’s hope that the BC Mayors’ Caucus will enhance the work of the UBCM rather than fragment or dilute the value of the organization.
Other agenda topics include building BC’s economy and moving forward.
The Caucus wraps up Friday.