TBM applies for second round of COVID relief funding

The Town of the Blue Mountains (TBM) will be submitting an application for the second round of federal-provincial COVID-19 funding support after projecting an unfavourable variance of $232,525 in the 2020 budget.

“We will make an application and I’m optimistic that perhaps the town can get some additional funding through this,” said Ruth Prince, director of finance and IT services for TBM at a recently held council meeting.

In late-July, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing announced the Ontario government had secured $4 billion in emergency assistance through the Safe Restart Agreement.

Of the $4 billion, $1.39 billion was made available to address operating pressures.

The funding was rolled out in two phases with 50 per cent of funding distributed to all municipalities in phase one, and the other 50 per cent available to the municipalities that can justify the need for additional funds through an application process.

Phase two funding requires the municipality to submit an application to the province by Oct. 30, which must include a comprehensive reporting template that provides an overall picture of the financial position of the municipality, information on service adjustments and use of reserves.

“It is a fairly detailed application form. They’re asking for our forecast for the end of the year with our current reserve and reserve fund balances,” said Prince.

In late June TBM staff presented a staff report that outlined $1,4464,500 in additional costs or lost revenues caused by COVID-19.

This total was offset by $1,130,475 in cost savings, leaving a projected 2020 deficit of $334,025.

Through the pandemic, TBM also lowered water consumption rates for the remainder of the year by five per cent, resulting in an additional revenue decrease of $53,400.

Additional expenses in the bylaw department and shortfalls at the landfill brought TBM’s total projected deficit to $699,025.

TBM received $493,500 in phase one of the Safe Restart Agreement; the cancelled Ambassador program resulted in $30,000 savings; Beaver Valley Community Centre revised shortfall of $38,000; and a revised shortfall in garbage collection of $100,000.

Additional expenses outlined include an additional $25,000 for the bylaw department; planning revenue shortfall of $40,000; paid parking shortfall of $55,000; and a landfill revenue shortfall of $75,000.

With updated operating numbers, TBM staff indicated an unfavourable variance of $$232,525 to the 2020 budget due to COVID-19.



“The application is forecasting where we are to Sept. 30, and then forecasting to Dec. 31. It is not looking at 2021,” Prince added.

Municipalities will be informed if the funding application has been approved by the end of December and the payment is set to be released in early 2021.
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