OCIF program funding decrease for South Dundas

Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

MORRISBURG – Changes to the provincial funding formula account for a significant decrease in Ontario Community Infrastructure Funding for South Dundas in 2023. Improved household incomes and recently completed infrastructure projects contributed to that decline.

The OCIF grant allocations for most municipalities in Ontario were released December 16. Large cities like Toronto, Ottawa and London are ineligible for OCIF.

In SDG Counties, both South Dundas and North Dundas are net-losers in 2023, each cut by a 15 per cent reduction compared to grants available in 2022.

South Dundas decreases to $691,892 in 2023, and North Dundas decreases to $471,139. SDG Counties are hit with an 8.71 per cent decrease in funding to $1,846,706. South Glengarry Township will get 3.35 per cent less at $685,329.

Changes to the provincial funding formula take into account the condition of existing infrastructure according to the Asset Management Plan, and the median household income for a municipality. Improved infrastructure condition means there is less need for provincial grant funding. Increased household income shows a greater ability by a municipality to pay for infrastructure projects through taxation.

According to Statistics Canada, the median household income in South Dundas increased by 19.8 per cent between 2015 and 2020; North Dundas increased by one per cent in the same period.

This is the first year the new formula is being used. As municipalities adjust, any funding decrease or increase is capped at 15 per cent per year. One hundred and six municipalities are cut by the maximum 15 per cent, 180 municipalities in all will receive less in 2023 than in 2022. Overall funding for OCIF is still higher than 2021 levels. In December 2021, the province nearly doubled the size of the OCIF grants as municipalities implemented the AMP system.

Net winners in the region include: North Glengarry ($562,341), South Stormont ($735,366), and Edwardsburgh-Cardinal ($486,079) – a 15 per cent increase each; the City of Cornwall ($4,126,731) – 4.38 per cent; and North Stormont ($285,090) – 4.38 per cent.

OCIF is an available allocation that a municipality can apply to for eligible projects. The funds can be used for capital infrastructure projects like roads, water, sewer, or bridges – and certain administrative or planning functions.

Recent South Dundas OCIF allocation uses include the Ontario Street reconstruction, double surface treatment on rural roads, and the Taylor Road Bridge replacement project.

This article was originally written for The Morrisburg Leader.

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