Wellington County sees drop in provincial rural grant funding

·2 min read

COUNTY OF WELLINGTON – A provincial grant to northern and rural municipalities has decreased year-over-year for Wellington County and 2021 is no exception.

The Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund (OMPF) allocations have been announced and the County of Wellington is getting $1.08 million which is nearly $200,000 lower than in 2020.

The Ontario Ministry of Finance OMPF technical guide says that this is the province’s main general assistance grant to municipalities.

The grant is aimed to support and recognize northern and rural municipalities’ unique financial challenges.

The OMPF will provide a total of $500 million across the province to 389 municipalities.

Granting is determined through percentage of farmland, population density, number of households and the overall financial circumstances.

Member municipalities also receive this funding and some will see slight increases based on assessment. The total across the county is $6.48 million in funding for 2021, $230,000 less than in 2020.

When the County of Wellington and all member municipalities are considered, there has been an $21.5 million loss in the years since 2012.

County treasurer Ken DeHart explained that the county’s amount has been decreasing because the OMPF is no longer targeted towards upper-tier municipalities.

He said the county is under the transitional assistance category which is determined as a percentage of the previous year’s funding.

In this case, the county will receive the guaranteed minimum for southern Ontario municipalities which is 85 per cent of the previous year.

The county’s allocation will continue to decline for the foreseeable future.

However, DeHart said that there are no restrictions on how this grant can be used and only means fewer funds to work with and a less than 0.2 per cent impact to the county’s tax levy.

OMPF totals in the county compared to last year are as followed:

Keegan Kozolanka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, GuelphToday.com