The city is in decent shape for the next three months; pretty good for another three months - after that - no one is prepared to comment

News 100 blueBy Staff

April 22nd, 2020



Senior City staff provided an update on the financial impacts of COVID-19 to a city council that was meeting virtually. The Mayor, the City Clerk and a third person in the audio visual room were in the Council Chamber.

Council was asked to endorse a three-month strategy that prioritizes City services to be provided through to the end of June 2020 to maintain critical and essential services for the city.

Council also approved the recommendation that Committee of the Whole meetings be scheduled to help City business continue and moving forward, virtual delegations will now be allowed for members of the public at City Council meetings.

In addition, Council also approved adding an increased penalty of $250 to specific parking infractions that violate COVID-19 bylaws and orders.

Financial impacts of COVID-19
The strategic management of the City budget and finances continues to be a priority. City Council and staff remain committed to fiscal responsibility and accountability and are focused on offsetting all of the COVID-19 related City revenue losses to June 30, 2020 and are looking ahead past July 2020 to mitigate a shortfall at 2020 year-end. The City is closely monitoring and carefully managing the financial impacts of the COVID-19 emergency while at the same time ensuring taxpayers receive good value for City services that continue, as outlined in the three-month work plan.

The city expects to spend less due to facility closures, not having to pay part time workers plus a significant amount on discretionary spending.  They will incur costs of $300,000 on COVID-19 costs

That story is best told in chart form.

Tax supported revenue not coming in

These are funds the city will not be getting due to the shut down of city hall and the closing of many of the services.


Money they dont get - has a reserve

These are funds the city will also not get but for which there are reserves that can be drawn upon.

other ops savings

These are operational savings. Gapping is money budgeted for a job that is vacant.

net financial impact

This suggests the city is short just $200,000


Cash flow proj

Projections are just that – projections. There are all kinds of things that can happen between now and July. Canada Day has been cancelled.

Keep in mind – these numbers get us to end of June – early July.

Will the curve be flattened by then or will the virus make a return when people are permitted to congregate?

Municipalities are required to approve a budget that is balanced, however, the City can have a shortfall or surplus in a given year. A shortfall can be offset by:

• using reserve funds
• increasing taxes in the next year; or
• reducing expenditures during the year of the anticipated shortfall. This is what Burlington is attempting to do to mitigate a shortfall at year-end.

Three-month work plan for COVID-19 Emergency Response Strategy
The City of Burlington COVID-19 emergency response strategy defines the City’s resource needs over the next three-month operating period, to June 30, 2020, to deal with the effects and impacts of the virus on our community and staff. The COVID-19 emergency response strategy and the three-month work plan will be reviewed on a regular cycle to ensure relevancy for operations given the situation and circumstances of this dynamic environment.

Increased parking fines
Council also approved adding an increased penalty of $250 to specific parking infractions that violate COVID-19 bylaws and orders. Current parking penalties related to public health and safety issues such as blocking fire routes, accessible parking, idling and blocking snow operations range from $120 -$400. The add-on $250 penalty is in line with this range and is meant to act as a deterrent to parking in areas that are closed under the City’s COVID-19 State of Emergency. Enforcement officers have been given authority to decide when to apply the additional fee with the goal being education and compliance.

Virtual delegations
At the April 20 meeting, City Council also approved a recommendation to allow virtual delegations from members of the public at Council meetings, beginning in May 2020. For future council meetings, delegates can make a request to delegate to council using the online form or send an email to Delegate speaking notes will need to be submitted to Clerks before the meeting in case there are connectivity issues. Delegates will speak to council virtually via phone or internet connection.

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, City Council meetings will continue to be held virtually. During this Council meeting, Mayor Meed Ward was the only member of Council present in Council Chambers along with the City Clerk/designate and an information technology technician. All members of Council participated in the meeting remotely and no members of the public were in attendance.


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