Municipalities to get financial help, but how much and when?
LONDON, ONT -- A financial lifeline is on the way for municipalities after the Federal announcement of a $2.2 billion dollar “first step”.
At London City Hall, the mounting financial pressure caused by the pandemic has politicians waiting for details of a potential bailout.
The Prime Minister’s daily briefing Monday included a commitment to help Canadian municipalities.
Roughly $2.2 billion dollars of gas tax revenue will be distributed earlier this year and they will work with provinces to provide financial assistance to municipalities facing massive budget deficits caused by the pandemic.
Budget chair councillor jJosh Morgan believes it is an encouraging sign.
“To have the Prime Minister saying that the federal government will be there to help, we have the province and premiere saying they’ll be there to help. We have to turn those words now into action,” said Morgan.
City Hall is projecting a budget deficit between $23 and $33 million dollars this year with the biggest losses at London Transit, water and wastewater treatment, and lost investment revenue.
Deputy Mayor Jesse Helmer emphasizes the need for both senior governments to come together on behalf of cities.
“They seem to be talking which is great, because I think it’s going to require the same kind of intergovernmental cooperation we saw at the beginning of the pandemic and the public health emergency,” said Helmer.
Two of the biggest questions at city hall following the Prime Minister’s comments are how much money will be available and when?
Later this month city council will receive an updated estimate of the budget shortfall caused by the pandemic.
“We’re running out of time and we are running out of options and we have already made a lot of changes to try to contain costs and those have been pretty painful,” said Helmer.