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The President for Association of Manitoba Municipalities is asking Manitoba Hydro to either cut costs or find a different way of creating revenue.

Chris Goertzen had the ear Friday afternoon of the Public Utilities Board which hosted a hearing into Hydro's proposed rate hike. If approved, the utility will impose a 7.9% rate increase over six years. Goertzen says for municipalities this works out to a 46% increase in costs for hydro rates.

"This is a real concern for municipalities across Manitoba," he says. "Especially recreation facilities will dramatically be affected by this."

Back in November, AMM members passed a resolution at their annual convention. The resolution called for AMM to register an objection to the rate increase request on behalf of all municipalities. Friday afternoon, Goertzen followed through with that request.

"Obviously all municipalities are really concerned about increased costs," explains Goertzen. "We know we have had our funds frozen from the province and yet we have substantial increases proposed by Manitoba Hydro. So this is going to be a real challenge."

Goertzen says Manitoba Hydro should look for other ways to cut costs, rather than on the backs of recreation facilities.

He adds the Public Utilities Board has the mandate to look at the matter carefully. He looks forward to the Public Utilities Board taking action and ensuring other possible solutions.

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