Local governments in the Southern Interior are getting more than $50 million in COVID-19 grants | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Local governments in the Southern Interior are getting more than $50 million in COVID-19 grants

Penticton Mayor John Vassilaki was the first in the region to speak up about COVID-19 restart grant money.
November 05, 2020 - 5:30 PM

The provincial government released figures today, Nov. 5, on how much money is coming to local governments throughout the province in COVID-19 Safe Restart Grants.

Those total more than $50 million in the region.

"The local government Safe Restart funding was designed to help communities, whether big or small, struggling the most through the pandemic," states a background document sent by the Premier's office to iNFOnews.ca.

While more money goes to larger cities, the per capita formula is adjusted to give advantages to smaller and mid-sized communities.

"We know that smaller municipalities generally do not have reserves to draw on like larger municipalities and many small communities, especially tourism dependent ones, have less diverse revenue bases that have been hit hard by COVID-19," it states.

Kelowna and Kamloops, as the region’s two largest cities, get the biggest grants at $7.9 million and $6.7 million respectively.

Vernon gets $5 million, Penticton $4.7 million and West Kelowna $4.6 million.

Penticton was the only city to announce the grant prior to publication time.

“With Penticton City Council heading into its budget deliberations later this month, the announcement of this grant couldn’t come at a better time and will consequently give Council the option and means to immediately replenish the reserve we relied on earlier this year as we responded to COVID-19,” Penticton Mayor, John Vassilaki said in the news release.

Staff there will use the money to replenish the City’s Financial Stabilization Reserve and will recommend, during budget talks, that some be used to protect other reserve funds.

The money can be used to address revenue shortfalls, reopen facilities and help with operating costs, emergency planning, protective services, technological improvements and services for vulnerable people.

Money is also flowing to regional districts.

Here is what municipalities will get:

  • Armstrong – $1.6 million
  • Cache Creek – $461,000
  • Chase – $879,000
  • Coldstream – $2.6 million
  • Enderby – $1.1 million
  • Kamloops – $6.7 million
  • Kelowna – $7.9 million
  • Keremeos – $659,000
  • Lake Country – $2.9 million
  • Logan Lake – $816,000
  • Lumby – $764,000
  • Merritt – $2 million
  • Oliver – $1.6 million
  • Osoyoos – $1.5 million
  • Penticton – $4.7 million
  • Salmon Arm – $3.6 million
  • Sicamous – $927,000
  • Spallumcheen – $1.6 million
  • Summerland – $2.7 million
  • Sun Peaks – $387,000
  • Vernon – $5 million
  • West Kelowna – $4.6 million

Here is what regional districts will get:

  • Central Okanagan – $1.1 million
  • North Okanagan – $741,000
  • Okanagan Similkameen – $773,000
  • Thompson Nicola – $947,000

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