Windsor-Essex receiving more than $24M help offset COVID-19 expenses
Mayor says province has come through for Windsor in 'a big way'
Windsor-Essex is receiving more than $24 million to help offset the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The City of Windsor is receiving the bulk of the funding announced Wednesday, with more than $19 million allocated to alleviate the municipality's pandemic-related operating costs, after it applied to the province earlier this fall.
Mayor Drew Dilkens told CBC News that the funding is a big help to the city as it's seeing a deficit of more than $50 million, which is the result of COVID-19 expenses and revenue loss from the casino, border and airport being closed.
"There's no way we could go to our taxpayers and say 'because of the global pandemic your taxes would have to increase six or seven per cent just to offset the projected deficit from operations in 2020,'" he said. "It would be unpalatable, it would be unsustainable and taxpayers just couldn't afford it ... Giving this money to us today is a great sign that they recognize the situation we're in."
Windsor was one of 48 cities in Ontario to receive funding Wednesday. The rest of Windsor-Essex is receiving the following amounts:
- County of Essex: $1.89 million
- Lakeshore: $899,000
- Leamington: $684,000
- Ahmerstburg: $405,000
- LaSalle: $294,000
- Tecumseh: $234,000
- Town of Essex: $230,000
- Kingsville: $230,000
- Pelee: $81,000
All Ontario municipalities have been also awarded additional funding to be used for next year's budget, with Windsor receiving more than $5 million.
Dilkens said the upcoming budget is going to be challenging and "difficult decisions" are ahead.
The money is being made available through the $19 billion federal-provincial Safe Restart Agreement. During a first round of funding in September, Windsor-Essex received nearly $27 million.