With nearly a week left before Ontario’s general election on June 7, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario is calling on political parties to offer a clear plan to support municipal governments.
In particular, the association is concerned about the province’s municipal property tax. It has accused parties of keeping silent on this issue.
“For small and rural communities, which often serve large geographic areas on a small tax base, this is a critical question,” said Lynn Dollin, president of the association, in a statement. “In some communities, a 1% property tax increase raises less than $50,000. Property taxpayers can barely keep up with inflation and other pressures, let alone afford any more provincial responsibilities. In fact, we need a meaningful plan to help us make ends meet.”
According to the association, municipal governments collect just 9-cents of every household's tax dollar, with the federal and provincial governments collecting the balance.
“On less than a dime, municipal governments deliver a wide range of critical services. We also chip in for hospital expansions and equipment. Some small and rural governments pay to help recruit family doctors. We care about the wellbeing of our hometowns, but 9-cents on the dollar is no prescription for healthy and thriving communities,” Dollin added.
The association also cautioned against a “one-size-fits-all” approach to municipal regulation. “What works for Kingston may not work for Kenora. Let each do what is best for them,” Dollin said. The group represents almost all of Ontario's 444 municipal governments, excepting the City of Toronto.
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