The Merrickville-Wolford Council have passed a Resolution at their last meeting, seeking clarification from the Provincial Government regarding future financial support for Ontario’s municipalities. Last December, Vic Fedeli, Ontario Minister of Finance, sent a letter to all Heads of Council to inform them that the government was reviewing the Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund (OMPF). This fund is designed to provide some compensation for the downloading of programs to municipalities by the provincial government since 1998. The Minister had stated that support payments and transfers to municipalities “are key contributors to the province’s mounting debt. Getting this spending under control is why we are undertaking a detailed review of all transfer payments, including those to municipalities.”
The Resolution passed by the Merrickville-Wolford Council noted that OMPF funds made up the equivalent of about 10% of the property tax revenues in 2018, and the loss of those funds could require a property tax increase of that amount. Council, therefore, expressed its “grave concern with the potential reduction and/or loss of the OMPF allotment in future years”.
Vic Fedeli’s announcement of the OMPF review in December left it unclear as to when that review would take place, and so the Council’s Resolution asked “the Provincial government to complete the OMPF review in an expeditious manner as future financial consideration ensures municipal sustainability”.
Copies of the Resolution were to be sent to Steve Clark, M.P.P., as well as all the other rural municipalities affected by the review process.