Province announces COVID-19 relief funding

Leeds-Grenville-Thousand-Island and Rideau Lakes MPP and Minister Steve Clark announced last week that local municipalities will be receiving over $6 million to address operating pressures as they continue to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This funding includes $85,300 for Merrickville-Wolford and $434,600 for
North Grenville. North Grenville will also be receiving $13,320 to support public transit in the Municipality.

The financial relief, in partnership with the federal government, is part of the first round of emergency funding under the Safe Restart Agreement and delivers on the province’s commitment to provide urgently needed emergency assistance to Ontario’s 444 municipalities. “Local municipalities have demonstrated outstanding leadership in helping to keep our residents and communities safe throughout these unprecedented times. But rising to this challenge has brought with it immense financial pressures,” said Minister Clark. “I commend Premier Ford for his determination in negotiating a strong agreement with the federal government. This ensures we can support our municipal partners, build stronger communities and protect local taxpayers as Ontario continues on the road to renewal and economic recovery.”

Merrickville-Wolford Mayor Doug Struthers says he is happy to see the federal and provincial governments follow through with their commitment to help municipalities with the financial pressures of COVID-19. Municipal staff have been tracking costs incurred by the pandemic and, while they won’t know the true impacts on the municipality’s finances until the fall, the funding will go a long way to make sure that Merrickville-Wolford remains sustainable into the future. “It is greatly appreciated and appropriately done,” he says.

North Grenville Mayor Nancy Peckford says she is also very happy to see the funding come through. As North Grenville had already created its own COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund through the deferral of some non-essential capital projects, she says these dollars will be used to help close the gap on any projected revenue shortfalls, and potentially support deferred and other capital projects. The transportation funding will be used to support the Municipality’s partnership with Allegiance Transportation Services (ATS) which provides some public transportation in the municipality. “I appreciate the continued support and understanding from both levels of government to the pressures faced by smaller communities,” says Mayor Peckford. “It is making a significant difference.”

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