‘That’s a big ding’: Half of SD&G on losing end of Ontario transfer payments

In this December 2017, file photo, the morning sun shines on the United Counties of Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry building on Pitt Street in Cornwall, Ont. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

SD&G – Municipalities in SD&G have received their transfer payments from the Ontario government and it’s a mixed bag of results.

Ontario Finance Minister Vic Fedeli announced the Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund (OMPF) allocations on Thursday (March 14).

Four SD&G municipalities will see more money while four will be getting less.

In a letter to municipal councils last month, Fedeli said the program and funding would “remain virtually the same as in 2018” while the government reviewed the system.

OMPF is a blend of different grants for housing assessment equalization, northern and rural community grants, a rural fiscal circumstances grant and transitional assistance.

The money is a significant component of municipal budgets were payments to Cornwall and SD&G range just under $1 million to just over $2 million.

Here’s what SD&G is getting and the trend line.

“We (the county) lost 15 per cent. We budgeted for that,” SD&G Warden Jamie MacDonald said in an interview with Cornwall Newswatch Monday. MacDonald said they were prepared for a change to transitional funding, which is 100 per cent of the OMPF amount for the county.

But MacDonald, the mayor of North Glengarry which lost $98,500, says his municipality and others will be hurt.

“We (North Glengarry) don’t have transitional funding but we lost $100,000 (actual amount is $98,500) of which we didn’t budget for. So now we’re going to be forced to figure that out. We’re going to pass our budget next week, completed, but we’re obviously going to have to do something there,” he said.

MacDonald says it’s “unfortunate” that OMPF keeps getting reduced year after year. “There is only one taxpayer so whether the province pays us or not the municipal taxpayer is still on the hook for that. It’s disappointing.”

“I look at it from the Township of North Glengarry’s point of view, that $100,000 is pretty important and pretty big to us. Township of North Stormont got dinged pretty much the same thing. That’s tough on our municipalities to absorb that. That’s almost two per cent. It’s a big ding.”

The warden hopes to work with the province on OMPF in hopes of having the allocations out earlier – possibly in December – so municipalities can budget properly.