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Burlington’s 3-Month Work Plan, Financial Impacts of COVID-19 Discussed at City Council

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

Burlington, Ont. — April 21, 2020 — At Burlington City Council on Monday, April 20, senior City staff provided an update on the financial impacts of COVID-19 as the City continues to monitor and address the impacts of this pandemic emergency.

Council endorsed 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.

“I am pleased that Council endorsed the City of Burlington COVID-19 emergency response strategy which provides the flexibility needed to effectively manage the city while dealing with the ongoing significant impacts of the pandemic on our community and staff. City departments are very focused on protecting residents and staff and will continue to provide essential and emergency services to the community. The three-month strategy allows us to assess and monitor the impacts of this evolving pandemic and continue to look and plan ahead for when we resume our city operations. The city also remains very focused on carefully managing our budget and finances to get us through these unprecedented times.” — Tim Commisso, Burlington City Manager

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. Key financial numbers include:

  • The City of Burlington estimates a revenue impact of $7.6 million to June 30, 2020.
  • The City of Burlington estimates potential draws from program specific reserves of $2.2 million to June 30, 2020.
  • The City of Burlington estimates an expenditure savings of $5.2 million to June 30, 2020.
  • Net Projected tax base shortfall of $200,000 to June 30, 2020.

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 clerks@burlington.ca. 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.

MAYOR MEED WARD’S TAKE:

Throughout this extraordinarily challenging time, the city has worked hard to balance the essential needs of our community with a steadfast commitment to fiscal responsibility and respect for our taxpayers. I am grateful to staff for reporting the numbers to council yesterday that allow us to be transparent and accountable to the public along with a thoughtful plan to see us through this crisis with minimal financial impact. Many decisions were made at council that will help us stay safe and manage ongoing risk.

I look forward to the new ways we will be able to engage with delegates at future council and committee meetings and maintain the business of the city as we continue to adapt to a “new normal.” I am deeply proud of the entire staff, council and city leadership teams for their ongoing contributions to the health and well-being of our community, and the many ways they are connecting with the people of this city to help those in need and keep everyone informed.

RELATED LINKS:

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

Media Specialist: John Bkila
john.bkila@burlington.ca
905-335-7600