Winnipeg has a new mayor for the first time in a decade, and Brian Bowman wants to cut the salaries of councillors.
There have also been moves to cut support staff for councillors, but more thought is needed on this one.
Councillors in any municipality need to respond effectively to a wide range of queries from taxpayers, communicate the actions of council to the public, and be able to make proper informed decisions on key issues.
To do all this, they need capable research staff to help study the issues.
A proposal to give a $10,000 incentive to encourage Winnipeggers to buy downtown condominiums had to be reconsidered, and it appears there was not enough research behind the idea.
Some councillors admitted to not fully understanding the proposal before they voted on it, and Council had to quietly reverse the decision.
Increasing the research capability would help to build expertise on urban issues.
Across Canada, there are relatively few people whose full-time job is to research policies affecting municipalities.
Councillors should be free to spend more of their time taking care of their constituents rather than try to run entire offices on their own.
I’m Roger Currie. Join us again next week for more thoughts on the Frontier.
For more on issues facing local government, visit www.fcpp.org.