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Zorra Mayor Shares His Experience at AMO

Municipal leaders from Oxford County are returning home today after the AMO conference in Ottawa.

ZORRA TOWNSHIP - Municipal leaders from Oxford County are returning home today after the AMO conference in Ottawa. 

Some of the topics discussed related to Oxford County included the proposed landfill and the Regional Review. Zorra Township Mayor Marcus Ryan says they did not get much of an update on the Regional Review. 

"Zorra asked for a delegation with Minister Clark, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, specifically to ask about, we did not get that delegation. The Minister said their was no update, he is looking to get a report from the special advisors soon and will not be doing anything with it until the fall. He said they had a massive amount of input and hinted that maybe slowing down the process. He was slightly overwhelmed I think by the response they got." 

Ryan says another big topic of discussion on the weekend was the Province Downloading even more costs to municipalities. 

"Municipal downloading from the Province to municipalities is definitely going to happen, the Province has listened to municipalities and as much as municipalities have said it is happening too quickly for us to realistically absorb it into our property tax structure and into our budgets and implement the necessary changes. They have implemented some transitional funding to help municipalities get there but the Province has made it clear that they are going to download things and that is going to be difficult for municipalities to manage. One way or another, it is going to mean some combination of property tax increases and service cuts." 

Ryan says Zorra Township also led four delegations to different ministers at AMO. 

"We talked to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry to talk about gravel pits, as Zorra is one of the largest producers of gravel and we wanted to talk about the impact to residents. We talked to Ministry of Finance about Provincial transfer payments and how we feel that Zorra has been treated unfairly and how that has had a big impact on taxes paid by Zorra residents. We talked to the Minister of Education about rural schools." 

You can read more about Marcus Ryan's experience at AMO on his blog here. 

We will be speaking with other mayors about AMO over the next couple of days. Heart FM has scheduled a Web Chat with Woodstock Mayor Trevor Birtch to discuss his visit to the Capital and that should be available online by Thursday. 

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