QUEENS PARK – This morning MPP Jeff Yurek rose in the legislature to question the Minister of Rural Affairs on the reductions in Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund (OMPF) that many municipalities in his riding are experiencing.
“Minister I have heard continually from municipal leaders in regards to the challenges they face due to the unpredictable and declining OMPF. This year, my upper and lower tier municipalities will see a 20% cut in OMPF funding for 2015.” Stated Yurek.
Since 2014 the following municipalities have experienced drastic reductions in the OMPF allocation;
- Municipality of Dutton/Dunwich lost $172,700
- Township of Southwold lost $108,600
- Municipality of Central Elgin lost $113,400
- County of Elgin lost $301,000
- Municipality of Thames Centre lost $174,000
This all equate to a 20% decrease for each of the above listed municipalities. The County of Elgin will see a $1.1million reduction across the county.
MPP Yurek noted in his question that the government’s own website states “The 2015 OMPF has been designed to increase targeted support to those municipalities with the most challenging fiscal circumstances.” However, municipalities in Elgin-Middlesex-London have been denied funding for projects that are critically important.
Elgin County has consistently been denied funding from the small rural and northern infrastructure fund, to help replace the water line to Port Bruce and East Elgin. The water line is about 20 feet from falling into Lake Erie due to erosion. Southwold has lost over 50% of their tax base when Ford closed, in which local council responded by announcing taxes will rise by 45% over the next 3 years to compensate. Another municipality was mandated by the Ministry of Environment to upgrade their water system yet their funding application was also denied. In addition to the lack of access to grants, these municipalities are now facing a 20% reduction in their OMPF funding. Money which could be used for critical infrastructure projects.
“The Liberal government has made a mess Ontario’s finances and it appears they plan to balance the budget on the back of many rural municipalities. Many rural municipalities have also been shut out of the provincial gas tax money program. This money would greatly assist rural Ontario in addressing their infrastructure needs.” Stated Yurek.
“It is time for the Liberal government to stop slashing funding transfers to rural municipalities and provide them with sustainable, predicable funding that will allow them to plan their budgets accordingly.” Stated MPP Yurek.
You can view MPP Yurek question at http://youtu.be/641TQ3RyXd8
Whitney McWilliam | P: 226-448-6741 | E: email@example.com