The past four years in municipal politics has been especially challenging because of the pandemic and its impact on communities.
It’s anticipated that could result in fewer of the incumbents seeking re-election this October.
Kam Blight is President of the Association of Manitoba Municipalities and he says for the most part rural areas are holding their own and councils are finding ways to do more with less. “The pandemic really hurt due to public health orders causing recreation facilities to shut down and the loss of revenue.”
Going forward this year he points out municipalities are looking at lost revenue of around $53 million.
“Yet municipalities are still delivering those essential services but it’s getting to a point where we’ll have to increase taxes, cut services or do both.
Kam Blight adds for that reason it's critical municipalities secure more stable and predictable funding from the Province of Manitoba.
Municipal elections will take place in late October and work is underway to make sure enough people get their name on the ballot.
“We anticipate a high level of turnover as we normally see but these past few years have been really hard on members. The pandemic has been really hard and emotions have been running high between elected officials and residents. So I think we’re going to see a high rate of turnover and people will be stepping down.
AMM is encouraging people to run and run for the right reasons.
“I hope people will encourage people to run especially those people who are stepping down. It’s a rewarding position and it’s great to be at this level and you do make a difference. We’re the grassroots and the government of the people and it’s a rewarding experience and I wouldn’t keep putting my name forward if it wasn’t” said Kam Blight.