February 17, 2005

York Region requires new financial deal from Ontario Government on GTA pooling, cost-shared program

York Regional Council announces cap of 3 per cent on GTA pooling

NEWMARKET – During its Council meeting and budget deliberations today, York Regional Council called on the Ontario Government for a new financial deal for York Region, including legislative and funding changes to address the growing fiscal gap between municipal needs and financial resources.
To initiate that process, Regional Council passed a motion to cap its 2005 GTA pooling contribution to three per cent over the 2004 rate of $79.5 million.
Requested by the Province to submit $86.7 million in 2005, Regional Council has only approved GTA pooling costs of $82.4 million.
“York Region, like many municipalities, is faced with a growing inequity which is threatening our long-term financial sustainability,” said Regional Chair and CEO Bill Fisch. “We desperately need a new financial deal with the Ontario Government to enable us to support our own programs and initiatives, including social services programs, both immediate and in the long term.”
“The three per cent cap is consistent with the Toronto tax increase of 3 per cent for its residents,” added Town of Aurora Mayor Tim Jones, Finance and Administration Committee Vice-Chair.  “Today, our Region is sending a strong message to the Ontario Government that York Region requires a new financial deal to meet our own increasing needs.”
In its nine-page report, York Region's position “On a New Financial Deal: Advocating for Legislative & Funding Changes” made the following recommendations:
• the Province review the GTA pooling program as it relates to the Region’s increasing financial contribution to the social assistance and housing programs
• the Province reaffirm its commitment to the cost-sharing agreement for the funding of EMS, both operating and capital expenditures at a 50:50 cost sharing agreement
• the Province enhance funding for transit services operating within the GTA
• the Province immediately remove the cap on its share of the Ontario Works administrative costs and return to a 50:50 cost sharing agreement
• the Province immediately initiate the process to amend the Development Charges Act, 2001 in several key areas
With the approval and implementation of the recommendations contained in this report, York Region would have approximately $660 million to $1.1 billion over the next five years.  These financial investments for infrastructure and human services are important and necessary to support the needs of our existing community and the future growth of York Region.
Media Contact:   Patrick Casey, Director, Corporate Communications, York Region
- 905 830-4444, Ext. 1235 or Cell 905 715-8211
- Email: patrick.casey@york.ca

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