When the Ontario Liberal government took power in 2003, one of the key issues for municipal governments was dealing with all of the downloaded costs that had been one of the features of municipal amalgamation under the previous Conservative administration under Mike Harris.
The municipal share of costs for social programs, ambulance service, policing, and other services had increased or been instituted for the first time. While the McGuinty, and now the Wynne Liberals have not taken uploaded entire sectors as municipalities had wished, they have uploaded some costs. They also brought in, early in their first mandate, a funding program aimed at helping more vulnerable municipalities cope with the cost of uploaded services. Over time, the program, which is now called the Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund (OMPF) has become focussed on helping rural, remote and financially challenged municipalities cope with a variety of costs. The program includes a rural communities grant, a fiscal circumstances grant, and an assessment equalization grant.
The way the program works in 2018, larger municipalities (in relative terms) such as South Frontenac, which has over 10,000 households and an average property assessment of $307,000, will receive $1.52 million in 2018, up slightly from $1.49 in 2017.
A smaller township, such as Addington Highlands, with 2,500 households and an average property assessment of $177,000 will be receiving $2.04 million, up from $1.8 million in 2017.
To illustrate the realtive impact of the grant on the two townships budgets, the OMPF grant for South Frontenac equals less than 8% of the amount council collects from taxpayers, whereas in Addington Highlands it equals about 75%.
North Frontenac Township will receive $1.6 million in OMPF payments in 2018, up $240,000 from the $1.4 million that they received last year. There are 3,500 households listed for North Frontenac at an average value of $250,000.
Central Frontenac Township will receive $2.05 million in 2018, up $75,000 from $193 million in 2017. There are 4,100 households in Central Frontenac, at an average value of $218,000.