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BURNABY, B.C. Changes to provincial legislation could give municipalities power to borrow more than $50 million dollars without asking taxpayers, CUPE BC said today.

Municipalities can borrow money and spend it on projects controlled by the private sector, taking control out of the hands of the taxpayer and elected officials, said CUPE BC president Barry ONeill. Taxpayers will be on the hook for private projects that we have little authority or control over.

ONeill was commenting on changes proposed in the new Community Charter. The changes were discussed at the annual general meeting of the Municipal Finance Authority in Victoria, March 27 and 28. The MFA includes members elected to local government throughout B.C.

For years private sector companies have been pressuring the provincial government to get their hands on municipal taxpayers money, and now, with the proposed new funding formulas, they are getting their way.

Municipalities have carefully guarded their credit rating and that will be put in jeopardy by private contractors, good or bad, now having access to taxpayer funds, said ONeill.

Why should municipalities that dont want to jeopardize their credit rating have to subsidize cities that choose to hand their services over to the private sector? said ONeill.

Other features of the soon to be released Community Charter legislation include municipal tax courts, wider municipal powers and responsibilities, and greater taxing authority for municipalities.

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Contact:
Barry ONeill, CUPE BC president, 604-916-8444
Marie DellaMattia, communications representative,
604-291-1940 or 604-839-1774 (cell)