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County endorses resolution to open dialogue on provincial funding


Essex County Civic Centre

Essex County Council will be sending a letter to the province and local MPP’s stating that, in agreement with the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, it wants to see conversation opened up about cost sharing.


Warden Hilda MacDonald read a resolution during last Wednesday night’s meeting that will be forwarded and it is one that she feels is long overdue.

In reading the resolution, MacDonald said that a third of all municipal spending is for services that are considered to be provincial responsibilities. She added that expenditures for those services are outpacing provincial contributions by nearly $4 billion per year.


“Provinces should, and can invest more in the prosperity of communities,” said MacDonald.


The resolution asks that the Province and AMO undertake a comprehensive social and economic prosperity review to promote the sustainability of municipal finances.


“At the last AMO meeting the discussion was that all municipalities send this to the province asking for the conversation to begin.”


MacDonald went on to say that there are so many more things that are coming out of municipal taxes including the fight against homelessness, addictions and even hospitals and she said that health care is a provincial responsibility not a municipal one.


“By sending this to the province we are hoping conversation will start. This is not being disrespectful. It’s to move the conversation forward and I believe it’s past due.”


She noted that the last economic review between the municipalities and the province was done in 2012. Former Essex County Warden Gary McNamara said a fiscal review was done between 2006 and 2008. He cited as an example of what the province should be paying for, the $3 million more the county is paying for EMS.


“Timing is very good for this,” he said, adding, “the demand on the municipal sector is going up.”


Essex Mayor Sherry Bondy acknowledged that Essex is endorsing the AMO resolution.


“It’s time. We can’t keep putting these things on the property taxpayers,” said MacDonald.

 

EMS aggressively recruiting

At the last Essex County Council meeting, MacDonald said that the Windsor-Essex EMS has launched a campaign to get more paramedics. Recent grads and even those who live out of the area are being encouraged to join.

MacDonald said the campaign is geared towards the region being a great place to live and work.


“This council is putting more paramedic resources on the road this year. We need to replenish the ranks.”

 

Black History Month recognized

February is Black History Month in Canada and MacDonald encourages everyone to participate in the many local activities including those being put on at Amherstburg’s Freedom Museum.


“Our region certainly has a history of Black Excellence stretching back 200 years,” she said.


She acknowledged the contributions made by publisher and activist Mary Ann Shadd.


By Fred Groves

 

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