09/15/2004

Toronto, Ont., September 15, 2004 – AMO was informed today that the Toronto Council’s Policy and Finance Committee will make a recommendation to Council to suspend Toronto’s membership in AMO.
AMO’s new President Roger Anderson, Chair of the Regional Municipality of Durham, expressed disappointment with the committee’s recommendation, “Toronto has always been an important and valued member of the Association.  It would be a pity for the City of Toronto leave AMO at a time when Ontario’s municipal governments are poised to benefit from a new spirit of partnership with both the provincial and federal governments.”

In follow up to a meeting with Mayor Miller on Friday, President Anderson yesterday forwarded a letter to the Mayor indicating AMO’s desire to continue to work together to address the City’s concerns.  

One of the items mentioned in the letter was the unified position taken by AMO, supported by Toronto, on the allocation of the 2 cents a litre of provincial gas tax for public transit.  The AMO position is that funding in the first year should be allocated based on an equation of 90% transit ridership and 10% special circumstances.  AMO‘s position has not been modified.

In recent weeks, as part of the government’s Strong Communities consultation process, AMO members and other key stakeholders have been asked to provide feedback on the government’s options for implementing the gas tax revenue sharing.  Participants included a wide range of transit operators and municipal staff including a representative nominated by the City of Toronto.  

Anderson said, “It was important for the province to consult directly with municipalities, transit providers and other groups as they prepare to make key decisions on the implementation of the gas tax.  We were happy to be able to bring member municipalities to the table for these discussions, and I believe they were informative for the province.”  Anderson added, “The suggestion that AMO has adopted a new position on the gas tax allocation is not correct.” 

As is typical of these consultations, and is encouraged by AMO, a number of other direct discussions between the government and municipalities occurred, including direct meetings with the Mayor of Toronto and the Heads of Council of other major transit provider municipalities. 

Quoting from the recently signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Provincial government and AMO, Anderson stated, “AMO will continue to work to ensure that municipal and provincial interests are identified and understood so that all governments can work together more effectively. Citizens expect that all governments will work cooperatively to serve the Ontario public.“

The Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) is a non-profit organization with member municipalities representing 99.5 per cent of Ontario’s population.  AMO supports and enhances strong and effective municipal government in Ontario and promotes the value of municipal government as a vital and essential component of Ontario and Canada’s political system.

 
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