To keep members informed, AMO provides updates on important issues considered at regular AMO Board of Directors’ meetings. Highlights of the June 2010 Board meeting follow:

Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO)
The Board received a presentation from Peter Simmons, Director of Municipal and Community Engagement, and Elena Mantagaris, Manager, Government and External Relations of Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO). Currently, the NWMO is engaged in a three year review of different approaches for managing used fuel, and is undergoing a site selection process for a permanent storage location.

Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC)
Carl Isenberg, President and CAO of MPAC provided the Board with an update of MPAC’s work. Currently MPAC has $14 billion in supplementary assessments. Municipalities are reminded that fall 2012 will be the next assessment update.
 
AMO Commissioned Paper – Assessment Limits
Canada’s foremost expert in municipal finance, Dr. Enid Slack, was commissioned to write a paper on some of the alternatives to current value assessment. The overwhelming conclusion of the paper is that while current value assessment may have problems, any alternatives to the current system will cause further inequities in other areas. This paper will be distributed to all member municipalities and posted on AMO’s website.

Clean Water Regulations
The board received a verbal update from staff on clean water regulations which have recently been posted. AMO had been consulted in the past on these regulations, and the regulations have been modified in part to incorporate municipal concerns.
 
Regulation for Municipal Wastewater Effluent under the Federal Fisheries Act
This past March the federal government announced it would implement regulations under the Fisheries Act requiring immediate upgrade to secondary treatment or equivalent levels by municipal sewage treatment plants (STPs). As a result of municipal concerns regarding the costs associated with these upgrades and short time frames, the federal Environment Minister Jim Prentice agreed to a working group with the FCM. The Board directed AMO to write to the federal Minister of the Environment to outline concerns regarding the costs of dechlorination on Ontario municipalities.
 
Water Opportunities and Water Conservation Act (WOWCA) – AMO Response Elements
Staff outlined the planned response elements of the Water Opportunities and Water Conservation Act (WOWCA). For further information on WOWCA, please see AMO’s March 18th Breaking News release on the Act here. The Board directed staff to develop a response to the WOWCA for Board approval in fall 2010.
 
Continuous Improvement Fund
There have been impressive projects to date that have proceeded with the assistance of the Continuous Improvement Fund (CIF).  The CIF recently concluded a Request for Expressions of Interest (REOI) from municipalities with 86 submissions representing over 160 projects. The REOI showed that a need exists for fund to assist municipalities to continue with improvements to their facilities. The Board decided to extend the CIF by one year but with a reduction to 10% based on the recommendations from the AMO Waste Task Force. This additional fund has a sunset date of July 1, 2013.

Local Government Week
The Board was advised that Local Government Week in the Grade 5 and Grade 10 classes in Ontario schools will be celebrated by a Student Vote program from October 17 to 23.

Long Term Care Service Accountability Agreements
Long Term Care Service providers will be entering into negotiations on the Long Term Care Service Accountability Agreements (LSAA) with their Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs). Despite vocal contribution from AMO through the consultation process, there are still a number of concerns with the LSAA template, including: a lack of mutuality and contractual certainty; a lack of dispute resolution or appeal process; and, extensive LHINS powers which arguably exceed the LHIN’s statutory powers. AMO has consistently raised the above concerns including the fundamental principle concern with the lack of recognition of municipalities as responsible and accountable governments.
 
AMO Discussion Paper on Long Term Care
On behalf of AMO, a consultant will be developing a discussion paper intended to initiate dialogue on the current involvement of municipalities in the provision and funding of long term care service and community support service for seniors in Ontario. The paper will provide contextual information regarding the role of municipalities in the service provision and funding of Long Term Care and Seniors Community Support Programs, along with information of various alternative arrangements in place in other jurisdictions, as well as other options for municipal investment for consideration and discussion. This will be an objective review to provide an opportunity to begin discussions at a strategic level.
 
Municipal Share of Hospital Capital Funding – Paper Proposal
The Board approved a proposal for AMO to produce a discussion paper which summarizes what is the municipal role in raising the required “local share” of hospital capital funding. Conducting this research will inform some of the broader strategic issues related to municipal capital demands and revenue sources.