Town, County relieved as MSI funding hits not as large as expected

Both the town and county expressed relief as the Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) funding grants remained virtually untouched.

Both the town and county expressed relief as the Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) funding grants remained virtually untouched in the provincial budget.

Both municipalities were ready to take a huge hit in MSI funding, but instead found relatively minor decreases in funding, staff from both organizations confirmed.

In 2014, the town received an MSI grant of $1,121,836, but in 2015 it was split into two grants, town assistant CAO Steve Gerlitz said. That meant this year, for 2016, the town wasn’t sure if it would receive a full MSI grant or a smaller amount of one of the two grants from 2015.

Mayor Dick Richards said that meetings with provincial officials had alluded to the funding taking a significant hit, and it was a message he passed on to staff at the community.

However, when the provincial budget was passed, that giant hit, expected to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, didn’t materialize. While the town’s funding did decrease to the tune of roughly $78,000, it was much less than expected. This year’s grant is $1,043,475.

The county experienced much of the same, Yvette Cassidy, assistant CAO, confirmed. The MSI funding received by the county took a hit of about $160,000, much less than expected. This year’s MSI grant is $2,695,650.

For the past two years, the county’s MSI grant has been in part funded by a supplementary fund initiated by the previous Progressive Conservative government, and there were concerns that the funding from that fund would vanish entirely. It did not.

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