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Triton Meyer calls for provincial download

The way the provincial government operates requires both bold steps and restructuring.

That was the sentiment of Triton Mayor Greg Wilson when Ontario began to formulate its fall budget.

Wilson has sent a letter to Finance Minister Rod Phillips about what he wants to see in the upcoming provincial budget.

Wilson has called on the government to abolish and modify downloads for social services. (Social assistance, Community housing, Long-term care, Child care, Ambulance services and public health)

He notes that “this will help municipalities address their growing infrastructure shortages without relying too much on the provincial government for utility-based infrastructure subsidies.

Wilson insists “Ontario is the only province in Canada where property taxpayers have to fund provincial income redistribution programs. All other jurisdictions use income tax and / or consumption taxes to fund these programs / services.

If the province is unable to complete the upload in the short term, the government should freeze municipal taxes from the social services and public health departments by 2020.

Wilson said future increases should be uploaded by the province.

The upcoming budget should provide police subsidies to municipalities in the Northwest because police spending is higher than the provincial average, for OPP and municipal forces.

He says higher police spending in the region may be directly responsible for the lack of mental health and addiction health services and affordable / supportive housing services.

Another demand is to “stop the annual reduction in OMPF subsidy for municipalities and restore the level of subsidy for small and rural northern communities to 2013 levels.”

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The next financial update is expected to come from the province after November 15th.