The Woolwich Observer

KANNON: Serious, long-term thinking has long been absent


– massively pronounced due to the pandemic – the province and the federal government have empty coffers of their own.

Cash-strapped municipali­ties have long called one-off grants and programs inadequate, preferring guaranteed slices of taxes such as the GST. There’s been some successes, such as sharing in fuel tax revenues, but many municipali­ties have proven unwise in their spending and mismanage the taxes they already collect; it would be folly to let them reach even deeper into our pockets.

Municipali­ties should indeed expect a bigger share of the revenues collected by senior government­s. Looking to fix its fiscal situation, Ottawa downloaded costs to the provinces. In Ontario, the province in turn passed down the expense of many programs to the municipali­ties, with an inadequate share of the money to fund them. Over time, that decision put an increasing amount of strain on municipal budgets, and communitie­s were hard-pressed to deal with immediate costs, let alone stockpile reserves for the replacemen­t of aging infrastruc­ture.

For the foreseeabl­e future, however, municipali­ties will have to get their own houses in order if they’re going to deal with their infrastruc­ture, some of it at a critical juncture. In the meantime, much will be sacrificed for years of neglect and still half-hearted efforts to save for the future.

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