AMO Conference in full swing with local delegation in attendance

Mayor of Prince Edward County Steve Ferguson. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)

SARAH WILLIAMS

STAFF WRITER

The annual Association of Municipalities Conference (AMO) was in full swing this week, with Mayor Steve Ferguson, Councillors Bill Roberts and Janice Maynard, CAO Marcia Wallace and Communications Supervisor Mark Kerr in attendance.

As per the AMO website, their mandate is to support and enhance strong and effective municipal government in Ontario while promoting the value of municipal government as a vital and essential component of Ontario and Canada’s political system.

AMO offers an avenue for the 444 municipalities in this province to work together and achieve shared goals while navigating common challenges.

The vision statement of the AMO highlights the importance of not only surviving but thriving within one’s own community and that “children will have the choice and opportunity to live and work in the communities where they were raised.”

Topics of discussion to be brought forward by the local delegation include rehabilitation of County Road 49, the state of healthcare and physician recruitment, and repurposing Queen Elizabeth Public School for affordable housing.

“Meetings are confirmed with the Minister of Infrastructure about funding for the $29 million rehabilitation of County Road 49; the Minister of Health concerning the state of County healthcare, our shortage of doctors, and our own doctor recruitment program; the Ministry of Finance to talk about taxation classes; and the Ministry of Education about our critical need to secure the Queen Elizabeth School property for affordable housing in Picton,” wrote Ferguson on Facebook.

The mayor also noted that, concerning the former public School, he is hopeful that a meeting Monday will bring the County closer to turning the old school into affordable housing.

“We have been working with the province and other parties on the acquisition of the property on Barker Street for four years,” wrote Ferguson. “I am hopeful that Monday’s meeting will get us closer to a good-news decision.”

Ferguson also noted that, in conjunction with the Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus, he met with Minister Steve Clark to discuss the housing crisis in the county and throughout Eastern Ontario.

Lastly, the mayor commented that the municipality is up for a prestigious award in recognition of their innovative financing deal with developers that will allow for the expansion of water and wastewater infrastructure in Wellington, thereby reducing the financial risk to the local government and the ratepayers.

“The municipality is also up for a prestigious award from AMO, the Peter J. Marshall Award that recognizes municipalities for excellence in use of innovative approaches to improve capital and/or operating efficiency,” stated Ferguson. “We are nominated for the upfront financing agreement that we struck with two developers that will allow us to expand water and wastewater infrastructure in Wellington. The upfront financing provided by the developers reduces the financial risk to the municipality and to the ratepayers. Agreements such as this are fairly common in urban environments, but this is the first time they have been applied to a rural municipality.”

On Tuesday, it was announced that the municipality was given the Peter J. Marshall Award.