With the Trail Aquatic and Fitness Centre still operating by appointment only, and the possibility of another lockdown looming, COVID-19 has greatly impacted revenue coming in to help with the cost of operation. Safe restart grants may be applied toward these ever-growing shortfalls. Photo: City of Trail

Safe Restart grants on the way to Greater Trail municipalities

The forthcoming "Development Services" and "Strengthening Communities" will be application-based funding

Greater Trail municipalities recently announced the dollar amounts they are receiving from the province to help with increased operating costs and lower revenue coming in as a result of the pandemic.

Read more: Pandemic has Trail council re-considering budget, tax increase

The cut for Trail is just over $2.11 million from the $425 million provincial pot for “COVID-19 Safe Restart Grants for Local Governments.”

“We anticipate using a portion in 2020 to offset losses in recreation services, airport and parking,” Chief Administrative Officer David Perehudoff told the Trail Times.

“In addition, the city continues to incur other costs associated with Covid-19 risk management and these funds can also be applied to offset these costs.”

Council will consider using some of the provincial money in 2021 and this will be discussed during the budget review that is likely to commence in early January.

“It is apparent that recreation and the airport will continue to (have) significantly reduced revenue with the Covid-19 measures in place,” Perehudoff said. “And therefore this grant is very important in the context of the final level of increase in the city’s 2021 property tax levy.”

The municipality has also received $17,000 from the Municipal Insurance Association to assist with funding Covid-19 expenditures, such as the costs of signage, hand sanitizers, masks and other associate materials and services.

Safe restart grants in the immediate vicinity include: the City of Rossland, $1.25 million; Warfield, $710,000; the Village of Fruitvale, $787,000; and Montrose, $485,000.

The formula is based on two components: a flat funding amount of $169,000 and an “adjusted per-capita” amount of $308.34 per adjusted population. The latter figure was derived from the ministry’s 2018 local government statistics.

To help address fiscal impacts of COVID-19, in September the Province of British Columbia announced nearly $2 billion in joint federal/provincial spending, including: $540 million for local governments, $418 million for community infrastructure, and $1 billion for transit, TransLink and ferries.

The $540 million for local governments was further divided into three funding streams.

The first is the $425 million stream for “safe restarts,” via direct grants to aid local operations impacted by the virus.

Eligible costs under this grant include: addressing revenues shortfalls; facility reopening and operating costs; emergency planning and response costs; bylaw enforcement and protective services like fire protection and police; computer and other electronic technology costs to improve interconnectivity and virtual communications; services for vulnerable persons, such as persons living with disabilities, mental illness, addictions, or persons experiencing homelessness.

The two forthcoming streams, “Development Services” for $15 million and “Strengthening Communities” for $100 million, will be application-based funding.

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