December 17, 2015
 
Office of the AMO President

Municipal Colleagues:

Fittingly, “Planning the Future, Today” captures the AMO Board’s Strategic Objectives for 2016. The attachment summarizes these and I encourage you to look at them, but here are a few highlights.

The key initiative is about positioning a better municipal framework for all municipal governments, no matter your size. You work hard in service to your communities, but there are fiscal challenges. AMO shares the anxiety and more so given the province must erode its deficit of over $7 billion to balance the budget in 2018.   What are the inherent risks for our sector as the province looks at its expenditures? This is but one reason why AMO is undertaking the “What’s Next, Ontario?” project. How can we meet the future if property taxes, user fees and grant programs aren’t enough? We are looking at how to answer these and other questions.  In early 2016, we will again be seeking membership feedback on options for what municipal fiscal sustainability could look like.  We will need your help and support.
 
While forward looking, there is also the here and now. The other orders of government are to make massive infrastructure investments. These programs must work well - for the smallest to the largest municipal governments.  Everyone has facilities and systems in their asset management plans that require attention.  Funding programs must help them.  

After far too many years, we just saw legislation passed that will offer some protection for firefighters who want to be volunteer firefighters too. There are other long standing issues including joint and several and interest arbitration. We will be persistent until we succeed.  2016 should see 10 major pieces of new legislation that will impact your responsibilities.  We will champion municipal interests through position papers, advocacy and intervention when needed plus appearing at government hearings and involvement in the regulatory work.  This work is resource and time sensitive and we must stand together to get the best outcomes.  

We need your membership and your involvement to succeed on the municipal agenda.  The 2016 membership invoice has been sent to your municipal treasurer.  It reflects a 2% increase, which generates about $36,000.  We work hard to be cost effective, like our investment in video conferencing.  It has reduced meeting costs and returned time to the many municipal task force volunteers since they do not have to travel to Toronto for meetings. These savings allow us to stretch our dollars.

I hope you agree that the work of AMO is valuable and that we can count on your membership in 2016.  When we go to Queen’s Park or to Parliament Hill, being able to say that we represent all municipal governments in Ontario is very important.  Speaking with that common voice improves their listening! On behalf of the AMO Board, thank you for your support. From the Board and staff, Season’s Greetings!
 
AMO President signature
Gary McNamara
AMO President