Details of Safe Restart Funding Announced for Municipalities.
Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador (MNL) President Sheila Fitzgerald says she’s delighted the province has announced the status of the Safe Restart Agreement funding for municipal operations. “Our members have been waiting for information on this funding for quite some time. Most are reconciling their 2020 budgets as well as budgeting for 2021 and decisions must be made.”
“I want to thank all the municipal leaders, our provincial and federal colleagues as well as the Federation of Canadian Municipalities who supported our advocacy work to get this critical funding in place,” said Fitzgerald. “Your letters, your calls, your passion and persistence have paid off today.”
Fitzgerald says many municipalities remain in deficit as a result of COVID-related expenses and are counting on this funding to support those shortfalls and to guide future planning. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, municipalities throughout the province have had to adjust in profound ways. Municipal offices and facilities closed; staff lay-offs occurred. Councils and remaining administrative staff moved to online business operations, while provisions happened for essential workers in the field through enhanced personal protective equipment and emergency work protocols. Municipalities also enabled tax deferrals and extended taxation discount dates leading to lost revenue.
Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador has advocated for operational funding support since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March. “Our members are reporting significant shortfalls for the 2020 budget year, citing unplanned expenses related to COVID-19, including for PPE, increased sanitization, technology and signage,” continued Fitzgerald. “This funding will help our members keep residents safe, prepare for potential future waves of COVID-19, and support the safe re-opening of local economies.”