The Province has announced an additional $51 million in Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund (OMPF) base funding and is providing additional one-time funding to defer reductions originally planned for 2006.

Municipalities will receive 2006 OMPF funding at least equivalent to 2005 amounts.
In a letter sent to Heads of Council yesterday from Finance Minister Dwight Duncan and Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister John Gerretsen, the Province announced a series of improvements to the grant thresholds and parameters within the OMPF funding program, including additional base funding of $51 million.

The changes include improvements to measures related to the downloaded Farm Tax Credit.  Beginning in 2006, upper tier governments are also eligible to receive funding in this area.  

The Province also extended the stable funding guarantee for 2006 and extended the timelines for phasing in reductions in OMPF funding for individual municipalities from 2008 to 2010.  The move will make many municipalities eligible for additional OMPF funding and ensure that no municipality experiences a reduction in 2006 from 2005 funding levels.

The OMPF was designed to reallocate funding from the Community Reinvestment Fund (CRF), resulting in additional funding for some municipalities and reduced funding for others.

The announcement is a positive step by the Province.  It responds to a range of concerns expressed by AMO and member municipalities since the OMPF was introduced in 2005.

The Government’s decision to delay the phasing of OMPF reductions illustrates the difficulty in reducing Provincial Government funding to municipalities without addressing the fundamental problems inherent in the current provincial-municipal fiscal relationship.

AMO will continue to pursue changes in the fiscal arrangements that benefit Municipal governments and property tax payers.  AMO President Roger Anderson will present AMO’s pre-budget submission to the Legislature’s Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs on February 2, 2006.