(Black press file photo)

LETTERS: Local governments need emergency funding

Our community is facing a crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everyone, and local governments haven’t been spared. Municipal governments are an important economic driver in our communities. They provide vital services like libraries, road construction, policing, firefighting, garbage and recycling collection, and many more services we take for granted.

However, COVID-19 is having an impact on the ability of our local governments to deliver the important services we all rely on. Here on the South Island we’ve seen municipalities facing reduced revenues, being forced to defer important projects, and lay off staff that provide important services to our communities.

Local governments help keep people safe and directly help citizens to weather the storm. And now they need the help of the federal government to be able to keep doing this important work. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities has asked for immediate action from the federal government to provide emergency funding to get through this crisis. We at the Victoria Labour Council agree.

We are asking for the federal government to deliver targeted emergency operating funds to all local governments in order that services can be maintained. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities is calling on the federal government to give cities the help they need, and has proposed a model based on the federal Gas Tax Fund (GTF) that includes funding for the general operation of municipalities and the maintenance of public transit and transportation.

The need is immediate and urgent. We call on the federal government to save our cities, towns, and municipalities from financial distress by providing emergency assistance.

Darlene Gallant, president

Victoria Labour Council

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