The Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) brings together municipal politicians from all over Ontario to share knowledge, ideas and contacts. This is just a summary of Day 1 at the annual conference this week in Ottawa at the deadline for submission of this issue and wanted to get to you an interesting piece from the conference so far. I will do a further write-up of interesting points of the whole conference in the near future.
- Nik Nanos, President of Nanos Research, always presents illuminating studies and statistics of his recent research. Citizens Perspectives for the Municipal Election 2018 was hot off the press for this conference.
Some points of study:
• Economic factors – 12% of Ontarians believe the next generation will have a higher standard of living than Canadians have today.
• Most responsive government levels to our needs – Federal 20%, Provincial 35%, Municipal 31%, Unsure 14%.
• Top challenges facing municipal governments – Infrastructure/Transportation 31%.
• Prioritization of municipal services – 84% ensuring quality of drinking water.
• Service contributing most to property taxes – public works 33%, police and fire services 28%.
• Wages and benefits of fire and police personnel – 43% want the same wage and benefit increase as other employees in the same municipality.
• What services should be cut if revenues do not grow – 19% say no services should be cut.
• Method for obtaining community news – 35% local paper, 26% online, 14% TV News, 8% social media.
• Most valued service provided by local government – Health care 17%, Public works/infrastructure 14%, Safety & Emergency Services 13%.
• When it comes to the collection of taxes in Canada, the federal government collects 47% of every household tax dollar, the provincial government collects 44% and municipalities collect 9%. Given the services each order of government delivers, should municipal government receive a greater share of taxes, a smaller share or is the current amount right? 60% say a greater share – 27% say the current amount is right.
• Should the municipal government cut services to freeze property taxes – 49% say No.
• Keeping your property tax increases to the rate of inflation no matter the impact on the quality or level of municipal services. 31% oppose, 28% support, 18% somewhat support, 35% somewhat oppose.
• Are you concerned that your current local property taxes will not cover the cost to fund future maintenance, replacement and new essential infrastructure and other municipal services? 41% concerned, 28% somewhat concerned.
• Would you support a 1% increase in HST solely dedicated to municipal infrastructure projects in your community? 43% support, 15% somewhat support, 33% oppose.
• Are you aware there is a municipal election this October? 66% aware, 34% unaware.
• How likely is it you will vote in the October election? 84% yes, 5% unlikely.
• The reason for not voting. 30% don’t know enough, 19% not interested/don’t vote.
• Issues that motivate to vote municipally – Healthcare/Services offered by the city 20%, electing a good leader 16%.
Important qualities for a candidate for office – Honesty/Integrity/Transparency/Trustworthy – 32%, Caring about local issues/Responsive to local population – 23%.
In summary, Ontarians still see infrastructure as both a problem and a priority. There is concern that the local property taxes will not cover the future cost of infrastructure, as well as the demands from the Province will lead to an increase in property taxes. Ontarians feel the municipalities should get a greater share of tax revenue. There is still support from Ontarians for a 1% HST increase to solely be dedicated to municipal governments for infrastructure projects. Ontarians are likely or somewhat likely to vote in the upcoming municipal election.
Deputy Mayor – Don Allen
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