Mayor Don Iveson reported in his State of the City Address that the spirit of co-operation is growing among the nine mayors who make up the bulk of Metro Edmonton. So he broached the subject of sharing more in the cost of building infrastructure in the region.
“We can have peace and prosperity among many municipalities so long as we all benefit,” he said to applause from the 2,100 in attendance. “Minneapolis-St. Paul for example has had regional revenue sharing for decades and is stronger for it.”
Many have said it before, but the idea of sharing the taxes from the big plants in the counties hasn’t gotten very far.
“The discussions are casual right now,” Iveson told reporters. “I think what needs to happen is they need to become formal, and I challenge this group of thoughtful and collaborative mayors to deliver something robust before the election.”
“I mentioned Minneapolis because I think it’s a great example of where it does work well, where have and have-not municipalities all benefit and they also co-invest on projects together and if one municipality lands a whale, the other municipalities benefit a little bit from that. The primary proceeds still go back to the municipality that has to deal with the costs of servicing the infrastructure for it but it just changes the conversation from winner take all to one where we all win.”
“They need to be more evenly shared even just so that we can invest together on infrastructure that’s say, on a boundary like a major interchange or how we might pay for a new regional economic development entity that we need to do at least some cost pooling on that.”
“There’s a will. There’s an openness to that, that’s unprecedented among the neighbors right now.”
A blue ribbon panel looking at the issue will report in June on ideas for the mayors to consider.