02/02/2010

AMO 2010 Pre-Budget Presentation to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs.
Today the Association of Municipalities of Ontario made its pre-budget submission to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs. Entitled, “Propelling Economic Prosperity”, the submission outlines among other matters, the following:

  1. A re-affirmation of current cost-shared arrangements that provide predictable municipal funding. This includes a reconciliation of Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund (OMFP) allocations for 2008; followed by 2009. Reconciliation adjusts for actual costs incurred, not estimates. A positive announcement regarding reconciliation is needed soon. In addition, no municipality should receive any less OMPF funding in 2010, nor in any future year;
  2. Continued investment in municipal infrastructure given the $6 billion annual need to fix the state of infrastructure, including a targeted small water systems program;
  3. Improved economic development opportunities with enhanced financing tools.  For example,  Development Charges Act changes which reflect the principle that growth should pay for growth, an industry based brownfields remediation fund; and
  4. Rebalancing municipal liability exposure by instituting a better approach to liability since municipal governments do not have ‘deep pockets’.
The submission reflects on the massive infrastructure investments made by all three orders of government this past year through the Economic Stimulus programs. In taking these steps to halt the economic decline, municipalities incurred new levels of debt  to do their part in matching federal and provincial contributions.  Municipalities did so knowing that various existing cost-share arrangements would continue to be met by the province. AMO cautions the government that any change to these agreements would plunge many municipalities into deep and frigid financial waters.