Safe Restart Funding Announced for Newfoundland and Labrador
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 17, 2020
St. John’s, NL – Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador is pleased to hear that $27.4 million in safe restart operational funding is on its way to municipalities in the province. The Federal Government released its Safe Restart Agreement response letter for NL and the other provinces and territories yesterday.
“We’ve been holding our breath in anticipation of this funding,” said MNL President Sheila Fitzgerald. “This announcement comes from a lot of advocacy and effort on the part of our members. Because of their hard work, their letter writing and their leadership, this is happening. We thank them, and we thank our federal and provincial colleagues for their support and collaboration.”
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 enabled tax deferrals and extended taxation discount dates.
Initial survey work done by MNL on the financial impacts of COVID-19 indicated that while revenue losses were occurring, many members were uncertain as to how profound the economic impacts would be. Follow up research with a subgroup of members in August indicated that 42% would be reporting significant shortfalls for the 2020 budget year, ranging from $20,000 to $1.2 million. All respondents noted that they had unplanned expenses related to COVID-19, including for PPE, increased sanitization, technology and signage.
The Safe Start Agreement provides financial relief to municipalities, but they will still face hard choices heading into the 2021 and 2022 budget years.
“We have to continue the discussion on recovery and resilience. We must put a close eye on municipal fiscal stability, preserve what we have and find new ways to generate revenue for our members beyond simply raising property taxes.”
The $27.4 million in safe start funding will be distributed to all municipalities using a per capita formula.
Municipalities Newfoundland & Labrador (MNL) was formed in 1951 as an umbrella organization mandated to represent and support local government in Newfoundland and Labrador. MNL represents the 275 incorporated municipalities in the province that service 89 per cent of the population and their more than 2,000 leaders.
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Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador
Deatra Walsh – Director of Advocacy and Communications
Cell: 709-986-2771 l email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gail Woodfine – Communications and Public Relations Coordinator
Cell: 709-725-1440 l email: email@example.com
MNL mailing address is
79 Mews Place, St. John’s, NL A1B 4N2