BRANT COUNTY – Brant County Mayor, David Bailey is attributing the area’s ability to avoid a severe hit of COVID-19 infections, revenue shortfall and business loss due to the pandemic, to the work of county staff and teamwork among residents.
On Monday, the Brant County Health Unit recorded its 109th positive case of COVID-19, which is significantly lower than many neighbouring areas, including Haldimand-Norfolk, with 338 confirmed cases.
Bailey describes the county’s current situation as ‘stellar’ in comparison to other areas within the province and says the combination of people and an early response is to thank.
“We have taken the pandemic very seriously right from the beginning,” Bailey says. “Even when it was at a rumoured stage across the ocean, before it even hit Europe, we were aware of it, and we talked about it. We knew it was coming and never thought we might be missed. We moved forward, both Brantford and the county, predicting we were going to get some sort of fall-out from it. We took it seriously; we put measures in place. Even at our last board meetings, when we were able to go to the facilities like the John Noble Home, we washed our hands, we were disinfected, we had our temperatures taken, long before we needed to.”
“It’s paid off beautifully,” Bailey adds. “I feel so good our seniors are safe. We have a wonderful staff, but we always have. The way the county handles our seniors has always been very respectful.”
Bailey says a couple of part-time jobs have eliminated at the county; however, there has been no full-time staff laid off to date. Full-time faculty have been re-assigned to areas requiring more resources to adapt to the situation, such as by-law enforcement. “We’re all making the best decision we can for unprecedented times,” emphasizes Bailey. “Since we declared the State of Emergency, the council falls back and leaves it to the mayor and staff. It’s amazing how much work we’re doing in the county.”
In addition to his staff, Bailey is praising county residents for ‘rallying together’ during this difficult time. “Everyone has come out to help each other,” Bailey notes. “St. George (for example) is a community of restaurants and people are lined-up for take-out, and they’re doing it properly. They’re doing it quietly. They’re not afraid but very cautious.”
While Brant County is also facing a budget shortfall around one million dollars due to the pandemic, Bailey also says they are in a good position to recover the deficit.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced the federal government will offer cities an advanced transfer of 2.2 billion dollars in infrastructure money to help cover COVID-19 prompted budget shortfalls after the Federation of Canadian Municipalities asked for up to 15 billion dollars in assistance.