November 24, 2020; Liverpool, NS: Provincial funds received by Region of Queens Municipality will benefit local public transit organization Queens County Transit. At the November 24, 2020 Regular Council meeting, Region of Queens Municipal Council approved a motion to transfer $25,674 to Queens County Transit as required by Nova Scotia Safe Re-Start Agreement for municipalities.
“The effects of the pandemic have been felt here in Queens and across the province, and we are grateful to Nova Scotia Department of Municipal Affairs and Housing (DMAH) for the funding Region of Queens Municipality has received. Queens County Transit has been a valued service for many of our residents, providing deliveries of needed supplies during business closures, and a safe method of transport to appointments and shopping once restrictions were lifted,” said Darlene Norman, Mayor of Region of Queens Municipality.
DMAH recently announced that they would provide funding to all municipalities in Nova Scotia through its provincial Safe re-Start Agreement funding, which it received from the federal government. The allocation for Region of Queens Municipality was $590,735, with the intent of the funding to help municipalities bridge the COVID-19 lockdown of many municipal operations and services. Region of Queens Municipality’s largest financial loss was at Queens Place Emera Centre, with a projected financial loss of an estimated $300,000 in non budgeted revenue, as of the end of summer.
In addition to the $25,674 provided to local transit as mandated by DMHA, Nova Scotia Federation of Municipalities (NSFM) and Association of Municipal Administrators (AMANS) will receive money from Queens. These two groups have been advocating for municipal units across Nova Scotia at the provincial and federal level for funding support to help mitigate the costs and lost revenues resulting from the pandemic. AMANS and NSFM have sent a letter of request to each municipality in Nova Scotia, requesting a small portion of the funds to help them remain solvent in these trying times. The amount requested and approved by Region of Queens’ Council was $2,020.15, to be equally divided between the two organizations.
The remaining $563,016 received from the Safe Re-Start program will be used by the Municipality to balance an expected deficit in its 2020/2021 annual operating budget, mainly due to loss revenue from Queens Place Emera Centre and other pandemic related revenue shortfalls and increased operating expenses related to COVID-19.