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Province announces relief funds for local municipalities

DAN CEARNS, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, for The Standard

DURHAM/KAWARTHA LAKES: Ontario provincial government officials have announced COVID-19 funding numbers for local North Durham and Kawartha Lakes municipalities. In late July, the province of Ontario announced $$4 billion in relief funding for Ontario’s 444 municipalities. The federal government is providing $777 million, and the province is providing $1.22 billion. The provincial and federal governments are also sharing the cost of $2 billion funding for transit relief. On Wednesday, August 12th, MPP Laurie Scott announced over $8.2 million for communities across her Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock riding. Kawartha Lakes will receive $4,835,000 in municipal funding, and $108,793 for transit. “This is new money for our communities that will provide municipalities with the support they need to protect the health and well-being of Ontario residents,” MPP Scott said, in a press release. “This assistance will continue to deliver needed public services as the province continues down the path of renewal, growth and economic recovery.” Brock Township is receiving $323,200 in municipal relief funding. That same day, Durham MPP Lindsey Park made a funding announcement for the Region of Durham and Durham’s municipalities. The Region of Durham is to receive $14,551,200 for municipal relief, and $8,405,396 in transit help. “As revenues decreased and costs increased due to COVID-19, municipalities are facing financial pressure like never before. This phased investment from the Province is vital for Durham Region to continue to provide the important services our communities depend on, such as public transit and shelters. As we turn our focus to restoration and recovery, we thank the Province for their support that will allow us to advance Durham Region’s priorities—job creation, economic strength, community health and safety, restoring and remodelling services, business supports, supports to vulnerable residents, and sustainability—to ensure Durham Region comes out of this stronger than ever,” read a statement from Regional Chair John Henry. The Township of Scugog will receive $528,900 in assistance. “Thank you to the province for their support. Being compensated for some of our emergency response expenses will allow us to reinstate and advance projects and initiatives that were deferred to meet the challenges and expenses of Covid-19,” Scugog Mayor Bobbie Drew said, in a press release. Emergency funding for the Township of Uxbridge totals $489,200. In a statement, Pickering-Uxbridge MPP Peter Bethlenfalvy said moving forward he will “continue working hand-in-hand with the City of Pickering and the Township of Uxbridge” to help them “emerge stronger than ever” from this pandemic MPP Park spoke about the importance of the municipal relief funding, in a statement. “This will support sustainable municipal services that keep our residents healthy and safe as our local economy recovers.” The province is taking a two-phase approach to distributing funds. The province’s recent announcement gave $695 million in funding to Ontario’s municipalities. “Up to $695 million in additional funding will be available through Phase 2 for municipalities that have [COVID-19] related financial impacts that exceed the initial per household allocation provided under Phase 1. Phase 2 funding will be application based,” read a provincial press release.

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