Three month work plan goes before council on Monday - it could prove to be very expensive

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

April 17th, 2020



City Council will learn from city staff what they expect the financial impacts of COVID-19 will be and seek Council’s endorsement of a three-month strategy that prioritizes which City services will be provided through to the end of June 2020.

Out of those deliberations will come a three-month work plan for the strategic management of the City budget and finances.

A statement from the administration seeks to assure City Council that 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.

A report detailing the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the City’s budget will be presented. This report will include:

• estimated revenue impacts of $7.6 million to June 30, 2020
• estimated expenditure savings of $5.2 million to June 30, 2020
• cash flow projections to June 30, 2020
• future financial modelling to identify pressures, dependent on the length of the pandemic, and recovery scenarios.

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.

Burlington is attempting to mitigate a shortfall at year-end.

Meed Ward H&S

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward said: “Our City is currently in a good position thanks to savings we’ve acquired through our winter maintenance budget, the result of a light winter, and major tenders that came in under budget.

Ford on gapping

Joan Ford, Chief Financial Officer

Joan Ford, Chief Financial Officer is the one who has to do the numbers juggling. Ms Ford and her team have always been conservative and cautious. She explains that: “In recognition of significant revenue losses such as transit fares, recreation programming and property tax deferrals, an expenditure restraint program was immediately implemented across the City to assist in mitigating the financial impacts.”

Will council listen or will they scour the reserve funds and look for ways to make up the shortfall from that source?

Monday is going to be a long day for city council – how deep their hands go into your pockets in the years ahead will be determined then.

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2 comments to Three month work plan goes before council on Monday – it could prove to be very expensive

  • David

    A poll in the UK has found a large percentage of working people are de-stressing, getting healthy, helping one another (Sense of community was mentioned) 53% of 3,500 sampled said they would not follow the call of government to get back to normal.
    They want a different way of living.

    The majority of taxes that are collected by governments in the West are for wages and benefits for an ever expanding system of a ruling class.
    It actually doesn’t matter who you vote for, the education system and universities are suppling compliant participants by the thousand to fill out and increase government departments.
    These compliant participants make sure their way of life is stacked against alternative directions of living, by keeping the poorer voter even pooerr and dependent on this elite group,
    The tax base is not bottomless. We must reflect on this awful time, and draw a line under something that is unsustainable, and quite frankly is obscene in its very nature.

  • Stephen White

    Hopefully, the Mayor and Council will explore other cost savings measures and creative solutions before “socking it” to beleaguered taxpayers and businesses, many of whom are already facing serious financial upheaval and threats.

    Options on the table for discussion should include: 1) selective layoffs; 2) early retirement buy-outs; 3) increasing fines/penalties; 4) re-allocation of staff; 5) increasing development charges; 6) eliminating most winter sidewalk snow clearing except for seniors; 7) delaying selected infrastructure projejcts.

    The City also needs to focus attention fast on how to support local businesses once social isolation is reduced. The usual axioms like “We’re all in this together” are getting a little tiresome, and a trip to the Burlington Chamber of Commerce and Burlington Downtown Business Association websites doesn’t yield much in the way of creative solutions or inspiration (quelle surprise!). Free parking downtown for 2 hours weekdays would be a start, as would foregoing business taxes for a year for restaurants, retail stores, etc.