Monday, August 24, 2009

Ken Gray posts Ottawa's AMO briefing notes

Ottawa Citizen editor Ken Gray has posted on his blog, The Bulldog, a bunch of private briefing notes and related materials that the City of Ottawa brought to the recent Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) conference.

They cover a variety of topics, from transit to housing to policing to rural issues. Most deal with different ways of asking for more money, with varying degrees of believability. I believe this link should link to these briefing notes after these posts have fallen off the front page of the blog.

Some of them are really interesting, and some of them are really dry. For a policy wonk like me, This one is educational. It talks about how the Federal Government's decision to sell many of its properties and lease them back causes the City to take in less money in property taxes. The reason? Even though the Federal Government is exempt from paying property taxes, they pay payments-in-lieu of taxes as a goodwill gesture (since it still costs the City to service these buildings). But the entire amount of this went straight from the Feds to the City, now that it's private companies paying the taxes, a portion is now going to the Province to cover education taxes, resulting in a few million dollars less revenue for the City (and as much as $25 million less if the Feds sell and lease-back lots more of their properties).

So read up, and you'll know as much as Jim Watson does on these issues.

- RG>

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