THUNDER BAY – “Our municipalities are facing extreme challenges with population declines, industrial closures, increasing social costs, and declining tax revenues,” says Ron Nelson, NOMA President. “This makes it exceedingly difficult to maintain the services that people need and want. Any delay in uploading these costs from our municipal budgets would further extend these challenges.”
The Commission on the Reform of Ontario’s Public Service released its final report in Toronto this week. The report provides hundreds of recommendations to Government including funding cuts and program changes. Of particular concern to NOMA municipalities is the recommendation to delay by two years the planned upload of $1.5 billion in provincial costs from the municipal property tax base.
The Commission acknowledges that the provincial-municipal relationship is “complex and intertwined”. Many of the Commission’s recommendations touch on services and responsibilities that are of interest to municipalities.
There is merit to exploring the recommendations in areas such as:
- Social programs and housing;
- Health Care;
- Infrastructure, real estate and electricity;
- Justice system;
- Offenses Act; and,
- Labour relations.
NOMA represents the interests of municipalities from Kenora and Rainy River in the west to Hornepayne and Wawa in the east. It provides leadership in advocating regional interests to all orders of government and other organizations.