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‘Local Share’ proposal to fund infrastructure seeks support

Prince Edward County mayor Robert Quaiff, chairman of the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus, hosted its meeting Friday at the Waring House in Picton.

‘Local Share’ proposal adds one per cent tax to fund infrastructure

JUNE 25 – A ‘Local Share’ plan for a one per cent increase to the HST is being proposed to municipalities from across the province to help fund critical services like roads, bridges and transit. The proposal was explained to regional heads of municipalities on Friday in Picton.

EOWC Chairman, PEC Mayor Robert Quaiff

Mayor Robert Quaiff, chairman of the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus, (EOWC) and Association Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) director, hosted EOWC members Thursday and Friday.

“I was honoured to host the EOWC in Prince Edward County for the first time since 2012,” said Quaiff. “Members were most interested in a presentation by AMO executive director Pat Vanini on ‘Local Share’. It would mean nearly six million dollars each year for Prince Edward County.”

EOWC members represent 13 upper-tier and single tier and 90 municipalities from Cobourg to the Quebec border, advocating for about 750,000 residents.

The Association of Municipalities of Ontario has invested two years of financial analysis and outreach on tackling the challenge municipalities face of growing costs for critical infrastructure needs.

All levels of government agree municipal governments lack the tools and authority to secure stable, financial funds. Local Share was introduced with a goal to reduce the pressure on property tax increases while providing a more diverse source of revenue to build communities.

A Local Share snapshot explains municipal operating costs growing annually just to maintain current services – costs driven by rising insurance and electricity rates, increased demand, provincial legislation and policing.

Incorporating property taxes, user fees, provincial and federal monies, a funding gap of about $4.9 billion is projected annually for the next 10 years to maintain current service levels and finance infrastruture needs.

Vanini’s report states that if higher property taxes and user fees were the only revenue option, municipal property tax bills and user fees might need to double by 2025 – an annual increase of at least eight per cent each year for the next decade to bridge the $4.9 billion annual gap.

The one per cent increase to the provincial portion (now eight per cent) of the HST (13 per cent) would move it to 14 per cent – a combined rate Ontario has seen previously.

Mayor Quaiff says projections show the County would receive $5,863,700 annually. While it would help significantly, it still would not cover all the County’s needs.

“Our asset management plan shows we need $35 million per year for the next 10 years to bring our 1,100 kilometres of roads up to standards,” said Quaiff. “Highway 49 needs $25 million alone, plus so many additional roads in need in this County.”

The AMO is continuing to seek member input on the proposal.

Filed Under: Local News

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