New COVID-19 funding for Limerick

·2 min read

At their council meeting on March 15, Limerick Township council reviewed a letter from Minister Steve Clark of the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing informing them that their township had gotten $9,000 in COVID-19 funding to cover pandemic related expenses for 2021.

Clark’s letter, dated March 4, 2021, acknowledged that the province had heard from the municipalities that operating expenses due to COVID-19 would continue in 2021. To that end, they had invested $500 million to help them cover these expenses, so that Ontario’s 444 municipalities could continue to deliver the services that their residents and businesses rely on and to go ahead with 2021 capital projects.

With regard to Limerick Township, Clark said that the province was committing money to them through the 2021 COVID-19 Recovery Funding for Municipalities Program, and that the amount would be $9,000. This level of support was based upon the proportion of COVID-19 cases in the HPE Public Health for Limerick during the period from Jan. 1 to Feb. 18. This $9,000 is contingent upon Victoria Tisdale, the clerk and treasurer, returning a signed copy of the letter to the ministry by March 31.

According to Clark, Limerick will be accountable for using this money for the purpose of addressing pandemic related operating costs and pressures.

“If the amount of the funding your municipality receives exceeds your 2021 COVID-19 operating costs and pressures, the province’s expectation is that your municipality will place the excess funding into a reserve fund to be accessed to support any future COVID-19 operating costs and pressures,” said Clark in the letter.

While Clark acknowledged that this latest provincial funding may not be sufficient in some cases to cover all municipal operating impacts due to the pandemic, he said that Ontario expects municipalities to continue to find efficiencies in its operations and utilize existing reserves and reserve funds to help them financially get through COVID-19 and its effects.

Two reports are expected back from the municipalities to the province; an interim report in June detailing the use of funds in 2020 from the Safe Restart Agreement Operating funding stream and 2021 estimated COVID-19 operating impacts and how the municipality plans to use the funding, and a final report in the spring of 2022.

Tisdale says that the funding will be issued in two installments, one on or before May 1 and the other on or before Nov. 1.

“We will be using the funding to supply all PPE to the Limerick Community Centre and the municipal office. This funding will also help to cover costs associated with increased cleaning of the public washrooms at our beaches and parks, as well as at the community centre,” she says. “As always, we are thankful for the funding that the government has provided to us.”

Michael Riley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Bancroft Times