Cochrane is eligible for up to $2.97 million to assist with operating cost challenges through the pandemic, and Rocky View County will receive up to $,3,995,313.
Alberta Municipal Affairs minister Tracy Allard provided further information on the Municipal Operating Support Transfer (MOST) program during the Alberta Urban Municipalities Convention,
While full details aren't available as of yet, Mayor Jeff Genung says funds are being allotted to Alberta municipalities on a per capita basis.
"We don't know all the criteria, or how it will fit, but I thought it was very good news from the province to identify needs for municipalities in this and help us bridge us through to next year."
"There are some loopholes, but it's a simple application. You just need to apply for it, and the funds start to flow."
The federal government had announced months ago that they were looking to support municipalities through the pandemic, says Genung.
"We've been kind of waiting with bated breath to see what the province was going to do and see how that was going to unfold. They've now made the partner with the federal government and announced the funding. That was a big relief."
COVID-19 has had a wide variety of financial impacts on the town. For one, Genung points to the $1.5 million required by the Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre to continue to operate for the balance of 2020 because of the closure forced by the pandemic.
"Services levels were affected, we've made some staffing changes, syncroments, etc., so there's a wide variety of impacts the town has faced with COVID. That's not to mention the PPE requirements, the hand santizers, and flexiglass for council chambers... and that's just the tip of the iceberg."
Many Alberta municipalities are reported to be struggling with operating costs and reduced revenue streams through the pandemic.
He says those with traditional fixed route transit systems have particularly impacted. Because the Cochrane On-Demand Local Transit (COLT) system is an on-demand service, he says it hasn't been heavily impacted.
According to Alberta Municipal Affairs, MOST, will share $436 million with all municipalities on a per capita basis. There's also a $10 million reserved for the tourism communities of Banff, Jasper and Canmore, and $140 million will be shared by municipalities with public transit systems based on annual ridership statistics.
As well, Municipal Affairs has expanded flexibility for use of the $30 million previously allocated to municipalities as part of the Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) operating program.