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Province provides another $18 million in pandemic relief to region

Woolwich will get $447,000 and Wellesley $166,000 in the latest round of pandemic relief funding from the province, with a total of $18 million earmarked across the Region of Waterloo.

The funding was announced last week by Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Mike Harris, who said the money is to help municipalities continue to provide critical services. It will also help them offset pandemic-related costs such as buying personal protective equipment (PPE) and cleaning supplies, as well as enhanced bylaw enforcement.

In total, $18,058,694 will be divided between the three cities, four townships and the Region of Waterloo itself. The funding will come from the Safe Restart Agreement, and is part of $500-million being distributed to 444 municipalities across the province.

“This kind of builds off what we had launched before. Obviously as the pandemic continues, we’re asking municipal buildings and things to be closed that might be generating revenue,” said Harris.

“The interesting thing with municipalities is they have to run a balanced budget – they can’t run a deficit. So, this is really good for them to be able to help offset some of the extra costs they’ve had to incur or revenue that they would have lost from, say, facility rentals like arena rentals or something like that,” he added.

“Another thing that they can use it for to is offsetting lost revenue. So, from ice time facility rentals, maybe provincial offenses fines that they would have been receiving as well, with less people on the roads or less people travelling and being asked to stay home. So, all of these things add to the bottom line of what municipalities take in for revenue. And this will help offset some of that.”

Funding is prioritized to help the municipalities hardest hit by the pandemic, that Harris notes the funding is divided fairly among municipalities so everyone can get what they need.

“It’s a balanced approach when you look at all the numbers; it’s sort of based off of a combination of Municipal Property Assessment Corporation data, how many households, taxpayers, etc. there would be within each municipality. So, I would say it’s very fair, it’s very equitable.”

He also said the number of COVID-19 cases affects how much money municipalities get, with those on the higher end of cases receiving more than those places which do not see as many.

Of the local funding, the regional government will get the lion’s share, $7,223,586, followed by Kitchener at $4,821,933, Cambridge ($2,491,652), Waterloo ($2,337,340), Wilmot ($391,615) and North Dumfries ($180,195).

“The Township of Woolwich appreciates the continued support from the provincial government and is proud of the successful collaborations that we have accomplished in these extraordinary times. This highlights that we are all in this together and this funding will allow the township to continue to provide critical services without undue burden to our residents,” said Woolwich Mayor Sandy Shantz in a statement following the announcement of the $446,909 for the township.

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