06/22/2015

To keep members informed, AMO provides updates on important issues considered at regular AMO Board of Directors’ meetings. Highlights of the June 19, 2015 Board meeting include:


What’s Next Ontario?
Update AMO has received a good input from members on the initial phase of its fiscal sustainability project – “What’s Next Ontario?” Discussions have occurred at the NOMA, FONOM, OSUM, AMCTO conferences, through two webinars and meetings with ROMA, Western Wardens, and MFOA. The AMO President will be meeting with the Eastern Wardens soon. Deadline for this phase is July 15th so please send us your ideas.

Municipal Elections Act Review
The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing is consulting on such matters as campaign finance; third party advertising; accessibility for voters and candidates; enforcement; and Ranked Ballot Voting. The AMO Board considered these items. It reaffirmed previous positions that had not been acted on such as the lame duck period and length of the campaign period, and changing penalties for missing the deadline to file finance reports. AMO's Board also discussed approaches to the Province's commitment to make ranked ballots an option for 2018 municipal election. The Board focused on achieving good public policy outcomes by ensuring a ranked ballot option, if chosen to be used, can be implemented with flexibility and efficiency. Finally, the Board expressed strong concern regarding the integrity of the voters list. AMO will communicate recommendations on the Act to the MMAH Minister and AMO members shortly.

Changing Electricity Delivery Landscape
With passage of the Budget Bill, the provisions dealing with the voluntary sale of LDCs and the sale of shares in Hydro One will now be implemented by the Province. The AMO Board discussed the challenges and implications of the government’s plan, among them the negative impact Hydro One rates are having in attracting/retaining industry and on other customers’ Hydro One bills. Data shows that municipal LDCs have better rates and better service. In addition, the Board felt that rationalization of LDC/Hydro One services where they occur in a municipality must be resolved so that customers on one side of a street do not have higher rates than the other. The Board expressed an interest in a public transparent reporting of any proceeds of sale of a government asset (not just Hydro One) that shows they are being fully dedicated to the Province’s $131 billion 10-year infrastructure fund, of which $31 billion is for municipal infrastructure.

Memorandum of Cooperation with the Chiefs of Ontario
The AMO Board strongly supported the Executive’s recommendation that AMO work with the Chiefs of Ontario to develop a Memorandum of Cooperation between the two organizations based on mutual recognition and respect with a focus on areas of common interest between the Chiefs and AMO’s own work. It is anticipated that this agreement will be ready for signing at the AMO Annual Conference.

MEPCO Update
MEPCO is asking the Province to declare OMERS as a comparable plan to the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan (ORPP) and exempt OMERS from the ORPP. If exemption does not occur, then OMERS employers and employees will see new costs. MEPCO released a discussion paper on the range of negative impacts on OMERS Plan costs and operation, should the Plan not be exempted. The MEPCO Board will hold a pension session on Monday, August 17 as part of the AMO Conference.

Response to the Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy Consultations
The Board approved a comprehensive set of housing principles and recommendations for AMO’s input to the provincial Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy. A response will be sent to the Minister by the deadline date of July 3, 2015. AMO’s focus is on how to improve and sustain the housing system over the long-term. The Board directed that the final submission to the Province, with all the recommendations, be sent to single and upper tier municipalities as well as to District Social Service Administration Boards (DSSABs).

National Energy Board (NEB) Emergency Preparedness Consultation
The NEB has asked municipalities what is needed to ensure emergency preparedness. Local governments would like to know first and foremost that companies have a plan, that this plan will be shared in detail with the local emergency personnel, and in turn, that this plan will be coordinated efficiently with local emergency plans. A letter will be sent to NEB which provides in detail expectations for appropriate information, construction, inspection, and supports for energy infrastructure related emergencies.

Waste Diversion Update
The AMO Board was updated on the status of the proposed Resource Recovery and Waste Reduction Act which is being developed as a replacement for the Waste Diversion Act (2002). Key issues to be addressed are: ensuring compliance with policy statements; enabling the municipal governments to act collectively when it comes to implementation; and ensuring a municipal role in collection to successfully transition the Blue Box under the new legislative regime. AMO will continue to advocate with the government on these issues. Watch for a separate Members' Update with respect to the payment of the Steward Obligation for Blue Box funding.

LAS Update
LAS has launched a new turnkey service to replace high-bay lighting with LEDs and advanced control systems in arenas, recreation facilities, transit, and public works garages, or wherever there are high ceilings. These projects benefit from strong incentives from utilities, dramatically improved light quality and levels, plus very aggressive payback periods. Contact LAS for a free proposal. CIBC is offering competitive financing.