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Brock Township not applying for phase 2 relief

DAN CEARNS, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, for The Standard

BROCK: The Township of Brock will not be applying for funding from the second phase of the provincial and federal safe restart agreement. At a meeting on Monday, October 19th, as part of an update on financial impacts to the township from the COVID-19 pandemic, treasurer Laura Barta told councillors the township likely wouldn’t be eligible to receive funding from the second portion of the relief program. “They will be looking at supplying additional funding to municipalities that have substantial costs they could not cover, so they would look at possibly running a deficit, which we are not. Also, they would be looking for financial figures at the end of October which reflect [the township] fully using some of your reserves, if you have reserves that are uncommitted, using anything that is under-spent in other areas and expected to stay that way, expecting you to mitigate as much as possible any additional costs you were incurring over and above the $323,000 we were granted,” Ms. Barta explained. “In our situation, based on my estimation for the balance of the year, I didn’t see we were going to be substantially over the [funds granted], and [the township] would have difficulty justifying additional funds from the province.” Earlier this year, Brock township received $323,200 in first phase COVID-19 relief funding from the province of Ontario. Ms. Barta added there are a number of municipalities worse off financially than Brock Township, with some currently in a deficit situation. Regional Councillor Ted Smith said he understood why the recommendation was made, but he was disappointed the township could not apply for further funding. “I was a little surprised we weren’t going to apply for the extra funding. It just seems to go against my grain, when there’s funding out there, to not apply for it,” he opined. Ms. Barta told those in attendance, the Municipal Finance Officers’ Association of Ontario is lobbying the provincial government for a third phase of funding to be made available to municipalities to cover possible 2021 impacts of the pandemic.

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