City officials to work with county counterparts on cost issues
London Community News
By Sean Meyer/London Community News/Twitter: Newswriter22
A city committee is recommending the administration sit down with its Middlesex County counterparts to work out an agreement on several outstanding issues, including social housing.
During the Finance and Administrative Services Committee meeting on Monday (May 7), members discussed concerns raised by county officials that could lead to higher cost pressures on the city come budget time. One of those issues, social housing, would increase the city’s share increase by about $2.3 million with an offsetting reduction for the county.
The county has indicated, informally, that they are willing to proceed to arbitration if the city doesn’t accept this change.
Mayor Joe Fontana said with more than 36 working agreements between London and Middlesex County, the relationship between the two municipalities is something of a model in the province. However, the mayor said it isn’t unusual that costs, including land ambulance, Ontario works and others, occasionally need readjustment.
“They are reviewing their budgets; we are reviewing our budgets. From time to time, there are differences of opinion over how we calculate those social housing costs, those ambulance costs, those Ontario Works costs,” Fontana said. “At the end of the day we will be able to come to some kind of an agreement.”
That agreement will be worked out between the two administrations, Fontana said, adding the city has turned down the opportunity to speak before Middlesex County council on May 22.
“We will instruct our administration to start negotiations on some of those matters they (the county) has talked about,” Fontana said. “I feel really good the administrations will be able to talk to one another and come back to us at some point in time with some decisions to be made. I remain confident that great relationship (between the city and county) will continue.”
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