BRUCEDALE – Guelph-Eramosa will contribute its $25,000 share of a new cost-cutting study coordinated by Wellington County, with councillors concerned about the uncertainty surrounding possible funding cuts by the Ontario government.
The government has provided large one-time grants to 405 municipalities in Ontario to help them “plan, modernize and improve the way they deliver services”, according to a report on May 6 from CAO Ian Roger.
Guelph-Eramosa received $613,775. The county and other local municipalities received similar amounts, for an overall local total of $4.9 million.
All but $25,000 of the township’s grant will go into a reserve for now, pending the outcome of the study, expected to be completed this year before the 2020 budget planning process.
“It is expected that the province will reduce municipal grants and/or establish spending reduction targets starting in 2020,” said Roger.
CAOs within the county met and decided municipalities should each contribute $25,000 from their grants to help hire a consultant.
The county would contribute another $175,000, bringing the project up to $350,000.
Mayor Chris White said most municipal services are mandated by law, and cannot simply be cut to save money.
A press release from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing says the recent funding will help municipalities “improve service delivery by finding smarter, more efficient ways to spend money…”
“It is a cryptic letter – a shot across the bow,” said White. “They’re looking at four per cent cuts. We want to show that we’re taking action.”