Chatham-Kent will benefit from a $332,100 increase in financial assistance from the province next year through the Ontario Municipal Partnership Program (OMPF), bringing the annual total received to $20,019,000.
“The OMPF is the main general assistance grant to small and rural municipalities,” said Gord Quinton, Chatham-Kent’s Chief Financial Officer, in a press release.
He said the increase is a result of the province slowly phasing out allocations to municipalities that no longer qualify for the funding.
“It’s a recognition by the province that rural municipalities such as Chatham-Kent have a higher cost of infrastructure per population,” he added.
“This is welcome news as we face a very challenging 2022 municipal budget with high inflation impact. Municipal governments are not allowed to run deficits. The Province provides these funds to help municipalities such as Chatham Kent balance their budget without additional property taxation.”
Provincial officials say this is the Province’s main general assistance grant to municipalities.
“Our government recognizes the importance of the OMPF to communities across the province, and we’ve heard loud and clear what our municipal partners are looking for,” said Peter Bethlenfalvy, Minister of Finance, in a media release.
“We are committed to making sure the OMPF continues to meet the needs of local communities, by providing stable financial support that they can count on.”
Ontario has been consulting with municipalities on their priorities for the OMPF, Provincial officials added.
Throughout these discussions, municipal partners have stressed the importance of stability and predictability, particularly during these uncertain times.
Ontario is responding by maintaining both the structure of the OMPF and the program envelope at $500 million for 2022, as committed at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario’s (AMO) annual conference in August 2021.
“Predictable and timely financial support from the Province is essential for budget planning in small and rural municipalities,” said AMO President Graydon Smith, in a media release.
“The early rollout of stable 2022 Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund allocations sets the stage for effective budget planning for the for year ahead.”
The Ontario government recognizes the unique challenges of northern and rural municipalities, including rural farming communities, Provincial officials say.
The OMPF targets funding to municipalities facing challenging fiscal circumstances and supports areas with limited property assessment, while assisting municipalities that are adjusting to year-over-year funding changes.
The OMPF supports 389 municipalities across the province.
The funding provided through the program is unconditional and can be used to support the local priorities and specific needs of each community.