by Stephen Hammond
There is more complexity to municipal affairs than is evident at first glance. North Grenville is the lower part of a two tier system of municipal government. The United Counties of Leeds and Grenville is the upper tier. Even this two tier system is more complex than that, because Leeds and Grenville also has shared funding and expenses in some, but not all, service categories with the partner towns of Brockville, Gananoque, and Prescott, though they are not strictly part of the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville.
In 2018, the United Counties received a $41.2 million Provincial subsidy and a Federal subsidy of $1.4 million, totalling $42.6 million. North Grenville’s share of this funding should be about $7.24 million, if the funding is truly proportional to the population numbers. As of the time of this writing, I have not been able to obtain any financial numbers that would illuminate exactly where this $42.6 million of funding is going, except that it looks like it’s going to cover most of the Community and Social services budget. There are no detailed numbers on the Leeds and Grenville website to show how much each township is receiving. It cannot be found, even as a notation, in North Grenville’s budget. I find it alarming that there are no easily available budget accounting records that would permit residents and Municipal councils to track this. A third of our property taxes goes to Leeds and Grenville. Residents and Councils of all of Leeds and Grenville’s municipalities need to know where Prov./Fed. funding and our property tax money is being deployed, and to make sure that residents are getting a proportional share.
Let’s go back to the $42.6 million in Prov./Fed. funding. If you divide this number by the population of the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville (2016 census) of 100,546, the subsidy per resident = $424. When you add this to the transfers/grants that North Grenville receives ($74) you get a grand total of $498 per resident in Prov./Fed. funding for the residents of North Grenville. This number is still far below, but a lot closer to, the amounts that I calculated in Part 1 for the cities of Ottawa, Toronto, and Windsor. Even assuming North Grenville receives this extra $424, Ottawa and Windsor still receive 40% more and Toronto 58% more. Add $424 to Prescott’s $388 per resident amount, and their total becomes $812, a sum larger than Toronto’s ($785).
I looked to the east to see if I could compare the Leeds and Grenville numbers to those of the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry (SDG). SDG has a population of 65,353. Their 2018 budget, at $57,681,863, is only a little over half of Leeds and Grenville’s. From their budget, I can find only $1,338,600 in Provincial funding for the entire United Counties of SDG. That’s only $20.50 per resident. If you’re living in North Dundas township (pop. 11,278), which is a lower tier municipality within SDG, then you’re only receiving $80 per resident in provincial funding for North Dundas, plus the grand sum of $20.50 from SDG, for a total of $100.50 per resident. It’s interesting that two large upper tier United Counties that are right next to each other receive disproportionate per capita amounts of funding.