Municipality of Port Hope Receives Legal Challenge re LLRW Trust Fund Monies
For Immediate Release
September 22, 2014 – Port Hope, Ontario – Today the Municipality of Port Hope was formally served with a court Application for an Order confirming that the Hope Township Fund is a trust fund and that its only beneficiaries are the ratepayers of Ward 2.
This Application has been brought to the Superior Court of Ontario by a group of Ward 2 ratepayers because of the ongoing practice of the Municipality to misuse the Trust Funds.
Citizen group, Port Hopers for Fair Taxes, will be holding a press conference at 1:30pm Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014 at the Program Room at the Port Hope Public Library, 31 Queen Street, Port Hope.
In 2000, The Federal Government undertook to provide a $10 million host community grant to each of three LLRW host communities: The Municipality of Clarington, the Town of Port Hope, and the Township of Hope.
The principal of each of the Port Hope Fund and the Township of Hope Fund is to be held for the exclusive benefit of the ratepayers of the area that comprises Ward 1 and Ward 2 respectively.
The incomes generated by the two funds were to be treated differently. The Town of Port Hope accepted the $10 million subject only to having to return it if their storage site wasn’t licensed or if all the wastes were removed from the Town of Port Hope.
The Hope Township Council however established the Hope Township LLRW Trust, the “Township of Hope Fund” where the $10 million was to be held in trust by a trustee and the interest used to reduce the municipal tax otherwise payable by each of the ratepayers in the Township.
The wording for the two funds differs substantially.
Income from the Port Hope Fund can “be expended by Port Hope from time to time in its discretion for any purpose permitted by law.”
Income from the Township of Hope Fund, on the other hand, is to be used “to defray the lower tier municipal taxes or levies which otherwise would be payable by the ratepayers of aforesaid geographic area of Hope Township…”
In 2002, the Municipality of Port Hope (MPH) started ignoring the restriction on the Township of Hope Fund income. That year $472,929 of that income was transferred and used for the MPH general Capital and Operating expenses. A further $198,065 was similarly transferred in the following year.
In 2005, the MPH started transferring the Township of Hope Fund income to its building and equipment reserve, a practice that has continued every year for which records have been made available. Over seven years, a total of $2,150,436. has been transferred to the MPH building and equipment reserve: interestingly, since amalgamation, the MPH has not built a single structure in Ward 2.
In addition, records produced by the MPH indicate that a further $306,185 from the Township of Hope Fund income has been taken for purposes that are of exclusive benefit to Ward 1.
Ward 2 ratepayers having exhausted efforts to resolve these misappropriations amicably, have now found it necessary to enlist the assistance of the Superior Court.