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Burlington’s 3-month Work Plan, COVID-19 Financial Impacts to be Discussed at April 20 City Council Meeting

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*Please see below a media release issued by the City of Burlington.

Burlington, Ont. — April 17, 2020 — At the next meeting of Burlington City Council on Monday, April 20 at 9:30 a.m., senior City staff will provide an update about the financial impacts of COVID-19 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.

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

At the April 20 meeting, City Council will consider a recommendation to allow virtual delegations from members of the public at Council meetings, beginning in May 2020.

Other items at the April 20 meeting include:

Three-month work plan for COVID-19 Emergency Response Strategy

As the City continues to protect the health of residents and staff, it is also planning ahead to prioritize the services and resources needed to help the City deal with the on-going impacts of the virus. A report, outlining the City’s work plan to June 30, 2020, will be presented to City Council for endorsement on April 20.

Financial impacts of COVID-19

The strategic management of the City budget and finances, including well through the COVID-19 pandemic, continues to be a priority. City Council and City 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. This is what Burlington is attempting to do to mitigate a shortfall at year-end.

“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. Further work will be completed to model the city’s year-end financial position based on various scenarios, given the uncertainty regarding length of time for physical distancing and recovery patterns.

We are 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 service plan.” — Joan Ford, Chief Financial Officer, City of Burlington

QUICK FACTS:

  • New time: Please note, the April 20 City Council meeting will begin at 9:30 a.m. instead of 6:30 p.m. to provide residents with the opportunity to watch a live stream of the meeting at a more convenient time.
  • Members of the public can view virtual Council meetings remotely using the City’s existing web streaming tool at burlington.ca/calendar.
  • While no delegations are currently permitted, written comments may be submitted to the City Clerk by email at clerks@burlington.ca. Received written submissions will form part of the public record and will be distributed to members of Burlington City Council.

MAYOR MEED WARD’S TAKE:

Our City is currently in a good position thanks to savings we’ve acquired through our winter maintenance budget, a result of a light winter, and major tenders that came in under budget. In addition, our financial planning includes setting aside funds in reserves to help cushion the impact of unexpected events – like the one we’re currently facing. While this will help in the short-term, it is not a sustainable model over a longer period of time. For that reason, we are taking the necessary steps to plan ahead and reduce costs wherever possible while ensuring the essential services our residents depend on continue.

PLEASE NOTE: To stay updated on what the City of Burlington is doing regarding COVID-19, please visit the dedicated pages burlington.ca/coronavirus (and subscribe) and bit.ly/mayormeedwardCOVID19updates, and our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page — bit.ly/COVID19BurlingtonFAQ that are updated as new information becomes available.

A Burlington COVID-19 Task Force has been created to help support our community through this unprecedented emergency — updates will be provided at burlington.ca/COVID19taskforce.

To report an incident of non-compliance with provincial emergency orders, please contact the Halton Regional Police Service COVID-19 Hotline: 905-825-4722.

We’ve also created a dedicated page to feature the local organizations and businesses that have inspired us during the COVID-19 pandemic by taking action to support our community in new and creative ways — head to bit.ly/covidwallofinspiration.

HELPFUL RESOURCES & RELATED LINKS:

*Posted by John Bkila, Mayor’s Media and Digital Communications Specialist

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Phone: 905-335-7607
Email:  mayor@burlington.ca

Constituent Assistant: Hannelie van Niekerk
905-335-7600, ext. 7689