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Mayor says council will talk about the new provincial cash on Monday

Council will have some decisions to make about a one-time provincial cash donation of $595,703.
Mayor Brian Saunderson. Erika Engel/CollingwoodToday

A recent funding announcement of nearly $600,000 for Collingwood presents an uncommon opportunity, according to the mayor.

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) announced Wednesday it would be giving $595,703 to the town of Collingwood to support the town’s “efforts in continuing to be efficient, modern, and customer focused.”

According to MMAH Minister Steve Clark, the money comes with no strings.

“This investment is unconditional,” said Clark in a statement to CollingwoodToday. “We are providing this money to support municipalities so they can find smarter ways to deliver services that support their communities and respect taxpayer dollars.”

Saunderson said funding like this is not unusual, but not common.

“I do not recall any similar unconditional funding during the past term,” said Saunderson. “It was unexpected, a very nice surprise and I anticipate council will look at ways to best utilize the funds in 2019 including asking staff to look at some options.”

Saunderson said he expected the discussion to come up at the March 25 council meeting, which begins at 5 p.m. in the town hall council chambers.

“This payment puts Ontarians at the heart of municipal decision making,” said Clark.

This funding announcement comes in the same week as a session with county councillors who were asked to provide feedback and recommendations for a provincial review of Simcoe’s regional government. The goal of the review is to find savings through efficiencies. The review was launched by the provincial government.

“Ontario’s government for the people was elected to restore accountability and reduce the cost of government,” said Clark. “Our government has done a line-by-line review of our expenditures, and expect our partners, including municipalities, to be doing their part to become more efficient.”

Collingwood’s cash is part of an overall $200 million in funds allocated to 405 municipalities across the province.