BARRIE, ONT. -- Four municipalities across the region will get a boost from the Ontario government with over $8 million in funding to address pandemic-related costs.

"This funding is further evidence that our government is listening and doing whatever we can to help municipalities keep costs low and services running," said Doug Downey, MPP for Barrie – Springwater–Oro-Medonte.

The financial support is earmarked for cash-strapped municipalities, including Simcoe County with nearly $3.9 million, Barrie with over $3.5 million, Oro-Medonte with $370,708, and Springwater with $313,417.

Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Clarke said the money could be used towards community services and ongoing capital projects. "Our municipalities have been clear that they need ongoing operating funding in 2021, and it is important that we step up and provide that support so our municipal partners can continue to deliver the services Ontarians rely on each and every day."

The province said the new funding comes in addition to nearly $1.4 billion received from the federal government and given to communities earlier in the pandemic.

Local leaders have said that without the federal and provincial governments stepping in with financial aid, they would be forced to raise taxes since Ontario municipalities are not permitted to run a deficit.

Many had to layoff city staff during the pandemic.

With files from The Canadian Press