Stratford, P.E.I., asks Ottawa for $435K to help with COVID-19 costs

·2 min read

The town of Stratford, P.E.I., is hoping to get $435,000 through the federal government's safe restart plan.

Back in July, the federal government said it would provide provinces and territories with $19 billion to help restart local economies.

Some of that money is also to go to help municipalities recover from the pandemic.

Municipal operations and services have to be done differently and cost more because of the pandemic, says Mayor Steve Ogden.

Steve Bruce/CBC
Steve Bruce/CBC

"It will help us provide some financial assistance to help us reopening our municipal services and also prepare for any future possible wave," he said.

"All of our municipally owned public facilities, they really need to be, you know, upgraded to provide safety from the virus and an extra cleaning and all that sort of thing."

During the lockdown period, Ogden said people were stuck inside their homes but still needed to access public services.

"It increased our costs for delivery of services. We had to, in a lot of cases, buy different software," he said, adding other needs like plexiglass barriers and hiring additional cleaners all add up.

"It reached into pretty much every department," he said.

The motion asking for the money was passed unanimously at a special council meeting Thursday afternoon.

When is money coming?

Each municipality will receive base funding of $2,000, plus $19.37 per capita.

That means Stratford is in line to get $190,068, based on a population of 9,706 as per the 2016 census, according to program documents presented at the special council meeting.

"We have the [$190,068] for sure and the rest between the [$190,068] and [$435,000] is a request," said CAO Robert Hughes, at the meeting.

The additional money requested is to cover service level funding to help with things such as transit, water and sewer costs.

If approved, the money would likely come in January, Hughes said at the meeting.

Even if Stratford gets approved for the full amount it asked for, Ogden said he expects the town to incur more COVID-19 related costs — but the money would be a "good start" in the town's recovery.

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