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More provincial COVID aid coming to Hamilton

 

More provincial COVID aid coming to Hamilton

John Best

Earlier this year Hamilton finance officials revealed that as a result of emergency COVID funding that was supplied by the senior governments the city actually ended up with a small surplus. This came after staff had forecast budget shortfalls in the tens of millions of dollars as a result of the pandemic, mainly due to lost transit revenue and extra public health expenses. Today Flamborough-Glanbrook MPP Donna Skelly announced that Hamilton  will receive an additional $11,677,000 in Safe Restart Agreement funding. The discretionary funding will be used to offset operating costs for critical services during the pandemic and help ensure that Hamilton does not carry an operating deficit into 2021.

“This funding will provide our community with the support it needs to continue delivering critical services that we all rely on every day,” said MPP Donna Skelly. “Today’s announcement will help Hamilton develop a 2021 budget that reflects the reality of COVID-19 and give them the confidence they need to proceed with capital projects that will drive economic growth.”

The Ontario government is allocating an additional $695 million across the province to provide financial relief for municipalities and help ensure they do not carry operating deficits into 2021.This investment builds upon the first phase of the federal-provincial Safe Restart Agreement announced this summer.

“This joint funding will help Ontario’s municipalities recover from the impacts of COVID-19 faster, by helping them to enter into 2021 without operating deficits from this year,” said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “By ensuring our municipal partners are in a sound financial position to begin the new year, they can better focus on keeping their capital projects on track while continuing to provide the critical services their residents rely on.”

Of the $695 million announced today, $299 million is being allocated across all 444 municipalities to help provide more financial relief, as 2021 operating budgets are finalized. An additional $396 million is also being allocated to 48 municipalities that have been hardest hit by COVID-19 and who have demonstrated a need for additional assistance in covering their 2020 operating deficits.

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