At the close of the inaugural meeting, 86 mayors from across British Columbia are calling for an immediate discussion, beginning with the Premier and Cabinet, to examine the state of B.C. communities, and specifically, for a more efficient use of existing resources to better address the challenges facing residents.
“There was strong agreement that local governments across the province are all facing downloading without consultation and mandate creep,” said Golden Mayor Christina Benty who was in attendance at the meeting in Penticton.
“Municipalities receive eight per cent of every tax dollar that is collected, and lack the resources to meet the service expectations of our citizens.”
Benty and the other mayors at the caucus are concerned about the financial impact that downloading, or the passing of certain responsibilities, from upper level governments onto municipalities.
Several other areas of concern were raised including: the cost sharing formula for significant infrastructure projects, sustainable revenue sources, the delivery of social services, and the possibility of creating a Premier’s roundtable with the BC Mayors Caucus to discuss policy changes, among others.
“The caucus was a productive and worthwhile time. We intend to reconvene again in conjunction with the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) in order to follow up with the agreed upon action items and keep the momentum of this movement going,” said Benty.
The Mayors’ Caucus also decided to move forward as an annual event, and by the end of the meeting had agreed upon the following statement as their mandate:
“BC communities are frontline service providers for our citizens and we are seeking a new partnership with the provincial and federal governments in the best interests of all of our communities. The BC Mayors’ Caucus requests an immediate discussion on the efficient use of existing resources to better address the challenges our residents face.”
The BC Mayors’ Caucus is structured after successful models across North America and Europe including the Alberta Mayors’ Caucus, the Big Cities Mayors’ Caucus (Canada), Atlantic Mayors’ Congress (Canada), Metropolitan Mayors’ Caucus (United States) and the Summit of Mayors (EU).