Technology was one of the main targets for Cumberland in its recent round of COVID Safe Restart Grant funding.
Economic development officer Kaelin Chambers prepared a report for council at the end of February on the latest priorities, contained the fifth version of the Restart report. Over the last two years, council had directed the federal and provincial money aimed at helping communities weather COVID-19 financial challenges to a number of different projects.
These have included renovations to the village office, helping a new local business association start up, support for the farmers’ market, food share programming for the Cumberland Community School Society, safety and speed signs, enhanced janitor services in public locations and a master plan for recreation, culture and the arts.
The latest projects total just over $135,000, which leaves about $107,000 left in Restart funding. Of the total to be spent in this round, the biggest chunk — $45,000 — will be directed at upgrading the Village of Cumberland website.
“I’m pretty happy about improving our communication skills with the general public,” Coun. Sean Sullivan said.
However, he did ask about the cost of the website upgrade and whether this was considered expensive.
Chambers responded the estimates suggest some web projects can cost as much as $60,000 to $70,000.
“These are estimates. A lot of these are based off quotes,” he said.
As well, the priority list includes $38,720 for upgrades to IT system security and $30,000 for a new telephone system.
Additionally, Cumberland will spend $8,500 for operations and meeting room screens and conference equipment, $8,000 for a portable GPS unit to collect operational data, $2,500 for summer weekend waste collection service and $2,430 for new chairs in council chambers.
“The seven items all seem necessary for operations,” Coun. Jesse Ketler said.
Mayor Leslie Baird agreed about the spending priorities highlighted in the latest version of the Restart report.
“These are items that we’ve needed for a long time,” she said. “So far, we’ve spent it really well.”