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No tangible benefit to municipal amalgamation: report
A new study by the Fraser Institute says Ontario’s push for municipal amalgamation in the 1990s has failed to deliver cost-savings and efficiencies promised for both large and small cities.
The study, released Tuesday, was co-written by Lydia Miljan, a University of Windsor political science professor.
“In the late1990s, the government of the day wanted to consolidate municipal governments in an effort to reduce waste and lower property taxes,” said Miljan in a news release. “While that may have been a laudable goal, it’s become clear that those benefits never materialized.”
The study examines the experiences of some of the province’s rural communities to see if cost savings were achieved when smaller municipalities were amalgamated.
It compares pre and post amalgamation financial indicators in the amalgamated communities of Kawartha Lakes, Essex Township and Haldimand-Norfolk relative to comparable un-amalgamated communities.
In almost all cases, in both the amalgamated and un-amalgamated communities, the study finds significant increases in property taxes, compensation for municipal employees, and long term debt between 2000 and 2012.
The similar trends suggest there was no tangible benefit to amalgamation.