04/12/2013

Today the Ministry of Finance released the final reconciliation of the 2010 Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund (OMPF) amid future funding uncertainty.

This means 180 municipalities from across the province will receive payments totaling nearly $28 million.  It was also re-announced that this is the last year in which the Ministry will provide OMPF reconciliation payments.

Since the inception of the OMPF the government has provided reconciliation funding which responds to actual municipal costs for social services and policing versus estimates. This responsiveness has been a key feature of the Fund.  The OMPF is a critical provincial funding program that assists municipalities with social program costs, equalization, policing costs, and assists northern and rural communities to provide services to citizens.
 
AMO is very disappointed with the government’s plan to discontinue reconciliation payments for 2011 and beyond.  Since the termination of these payments was first announced in November 2012, AMO has pressed the issue with successive Ministers of Finance and Municipal Affairs and Housing.

A great deal of uncertainty surrounds future OMPF allocations and the operating budget support it provides to qualifying municipalities.  Four issues are at play:
  1. The end of reconciliation means that from fiscal year 2011 onwards any variances in municipal costs for social assistance or policing will not be offset by the OMPF.  It means that under the OMPF formula of 2011 and 2012, that the government will not pay bills for actual program costs.  Municipalities will have to absorb these expenses.
  2. OMPF allocations in 2013 (under the new OMPF 'transition' formula) have been determined as a percentage of 2012 OMPF allocations exacerbating the Fund’s non-responsiveness to changing municipal costs.
  3. A further $25 million cut to the OMPF is scheduled for 2014 which will be an added negative impact for municipalities. The OMPF exists to help those municipalities which don't have the assessment base or household incomes to pay higher property taxes.
  4. Expected increases to 2014 OPP policing costs due to the implementation of the 4th year of the OPP collective agreement and what might happen to OPP billing in the future.

As a result, AMO’s pre-budget submission called on the government to restore reconciliation for 2011 and 2012.  It also seeks a deferral of the $25 million OMPF cut schedule for 2014.  Finally, AMO has been advocating for decreases in policing costs through our participation in the Future of Policing Advisory Committee (FPAC) and other policing forums, including the OPP billing working group.  Discussion with the government on all these points continues.

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