The Town of Pelham will receive $1,298,000 from the Province of Ontario’s relief for municipalities phase two funding announcement. In total, for 2020, the Town of Pelham received just over $1.7 million through both phases.
The second phase of funding, announced December 16, 2020, builds upon the first phase of the federal-provincial Safe Restart Agreement this past summer. The funding allows municipalities to deliver critical services and programs during the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring towns and cities avoid operating deficits in 2021. Phase two funding represents total lost revenue related to COVID-19 and additional expenses incurred, including operating impacts on the library.
The Provincial government’s funding provides significant assistance to Pelham taxpayers, who will not be asked to bear the brunt of COVID-19 deficits.
“The Province came to the rescue, not just for Pelham, but municipalities across Niagara and Ontario,” said Mayor Marvin Junkin. “This funding is game-changing, and we are grateful to receive such a significant amount to help offset lost revenue and not ask our taxpayers to carry any of that burden.”
In August, Pelham received $428,500 plus $18,334 for transit in the first phase of funding. At the time, year-end estimates suggested revenues would be short just over $220,000. The second phase announcement ensures that Pelham will not be carrying a deficit into 2021 due to COVID-19.
“This is great news for Pelham,” said Teresa Quinlin, director of corporate services and treasurer. “Working through the COVID-19 pandemic tested all of us, and from a financial standpoint, we operated conservatively and appropriately, always with the best interest of the municipality and its residents in mind.”
Recently, Town Council deferred the passing of the operating and capital budgets for 2021, pausing their completion until the second phase of funding arrived. Council will now consider these budgets in early-to-mid January 2021.
In Niagara, Pelham received the third-highest amount in phase two funding, behind only St. Catharines and Niagara Falls.
Services and programs in the Town continue to operate on a slightly modified basis. Town Hall remains open by appointment only, and programs at the Meridian Community Centre are available based on the health and safety protocols set forth by the Province and Niagara Region Public Health.
To learn more about the Town’s award-winning response to COVID-19, visit: www.pelham.ca/covid19