Wellington County municipalities receive $2.5-million boost from province

WELLINGTON COUNTY – Local municipalities will receive nearly $2.5 million from a new pool of provincial funding to assist with additional operating costs related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Ontario government announced March 4 it will provide an additional $500 million to help the province’s 444 municipalities.

The new financial relief will help ensure the delivery of critical services and keep capital projects on track, the province states in a press release.

Wellington County municipalities will receive a combined $2,465,209, with the county itself drawing $986,108 from the pool.

Allocations to lower tier municipalities are:

  • Centre Wellington, $503,059;
  • Erin, $170,829;
  • Guelph/Eramosa, $190,376;
  • Mapleton, $139,421;
  • Minto, $154,603;
  • Puslinch, $121,882; and
  • Wellington North, $198,991.

“Municipalities continue to pay for the economic impact of COVID-19,” stated Perth-Wellington MPP Pettapiece.

“I’m pleased to see our government continuing to support all the municipalities I represent.”

Provincial officials say the funding is being prioritized to help municipalities “hardest hit by the pandemic” and can be used to address “the unique needs of each community based on COVID-19 related operating pressures.”

The funding is being allocated based on a combination of a base amount using Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) household data and an amount based on the proportion of provincial COVID-19 cases, from Jan. 1 to Feb. 18, in the municipality’s respective public health unit.

Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark said municipalities play a key role in the response to the pandemic and called on the federal government to provide them with additional funding as well.

“Our government continues to adapt and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic as it evolves, and we know our municipal partners are on the front lines of this effort – providing the critical services people depend on every day,” said Clark.

“Our municipalities have been clear that they need ongoing operating funding in 2021, and it’s important that we step up and provide more financial relief.

“At the same time, we need the federal government to join us and provide our municipal partners with the additional support they deserve.”

The funds add to $1.39 billion in operating funding that was provided to municipalities through the joint federal-provincial Safe Restart Agreement, which included a $19-billion federal funding component.

The second phase of Safe Restart Agreement was allocated to Ontario municipalities in December, “to ensure that no community entered 2021 facing an operating deficit from 2020,” the release states.

“This additional $500 million for 2021 builds on a record of provincial government support under the 2020 Safe Restart Agreement and the life-saving Social Services Relief Fund,” said Association of Municipalities of Ontario president Graydon Smith.

“It will help offset the impact of COVID-19 on 2021 municipal budgets in every part of Ontario. By protecting the municipal services people and business rely on most, and preventing delays in capital projects, this funding is an important investment in Ontario’s economic recovery.”