In May, Council had a special meeting to discuss the impact of Covid-19 on the Town’s budget. A report by Treasurer (and interim CAO) Ian Davey said that there would be a shortfall in revenue of $1,561,000. However, he also said that this could be compensated for so that the Town would not have a significant financial problem – see links below. This assumed that the crisis would last for no more than 6 months – that is, that the last 3 months of the year would be business as usual. County Council was also expecting a drop in revenue and as well were trying to limit the impact on citizens by directing staff to have a goal of a zero tax increase for 2021.
But it’s generally agreed that at least some impact of Covid-19 will last longer than 6 months and there are additional expenses not included in first estimates. These include free transit, free parking, PPE costs and as well as significant recovery costs. Since municipalities are not allowed to have a budgeted deficit, the only way for Municipalities to cope would be a grant from the Province – and that’s what was announced today.
In July, the Federal Government announced they would give $19B to Provinces to help with restarting (Safe Restart Agreement). Ontario got $4B of this and today MPP David Piccini announced that his Riding would get $5.1M with 50% coming from the Federal grant.
But trying to work out exactly how much to give each Municipality would be impossible so the Province has decided to provide grants based simply on “households”.
For the local riding of Northumberland Peterborough South, here are the numbers (Northumberland only):
- Township of Alnwick/Haldimand, $207,600
- Municipality of Brighton, $326,600
- Town of Cobourg, $571,800 and an additional $97,780 to support transit operations
- Township of Cramahe, $174,600 and an additional $16,922 to support transit operations
- Township of Hamilton, $300,200
- Municipality of Port Hope, $451,400 and an additional $54,807 to support transit operations
- Municipality of Trent Hills, $440,600 and an additional $17,436 to support transit operations
- County of Northumberland, $2,472,900
Note that this funding is described as “part of the first round of emergency funding under the Safe Restart Agreement.”
The County is also receiving $1,397,700 in Social Services Relief funding to “protect homeless shelter staff and residents, expand rent support programming and create longer-term housing solutions.”
At the meeting in May, Treasurer/Acting CAO Ian Davey said that additional reviews of financial impact to the Town would be a good idea at approximately 2 month intervals. This could probably now best be done in conjunction with work to prepare the 2021 budget. Now that we have a better idea of the Covid-19 impact and its impact, and we have visibility of what upper tier Government support will be, a realistic budget should be possible. And at least Municipal taxes should be zero or low increases with no reduction in services.
- Council Discuss impact of Covid-19 – 6 April 2020
- Council reviews Town’s Finances – 22 May 2020 – review document provided by Ian Davey at that meeting
- County operations – 12 July – 12 July 2020
- Northumberland-Peterborough South receives over $5.1 million in Emergency Funding from the Government of Ontario