November 28th, 2021

Committee told about COVID-19 impact on City finances


By Al Beeber on November 25, 2021.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

Direct expenditures associated with the City’s response to COVID-19 is forecast to be nearly $3 million.
City treasurer Darrell Matthews gave a presentation to the Economic Standing Policy Committee of Lethbridge city council Wednesday on the projected impact of the pandemic on operating budgets this year.
He went through the assumptions, the financial reporting processes, what is contained within the report as well as the impact of COVID-19 on operations and the overall corporate and departmental variances within his presentation.
“This operating forecast contains many assumptions and this is the best information that we currently have,” Matthews told the committee.
“I would like to note that subsequent to the submission of this report it’s come to our attention a critical key piece of infrastructure at the airport needs to be replaced. Therefore administration will be recommending Economic SPC recommend to council to approve the funding of a replacement for the airport sweeper from the airport reserve,” Matthews said.
“In regards to COVID-19 and its future impacts, the forecast currently includes the estimated costs associated with the city’s response to COVID-19 to Dec. 31, 2021,” he said.
“The COVID-19 outbreak continues to have a significant impact on the city and its citizens. At the time the forecast was prepared, the ’20-’21 expenditures associated with the direct COVID response is forecast to be approximately $3 million,” Matthews told the committee.
The amount includes $500,000 for rent supplements from one-time funding from the Municipal Revenue Stabilization Reserve (MRSR) and $800,000 “for cleaning, disinfecting, security and personal protective equipment costs as well as direct wages which was funded from the COVID-19 direct pressure funding,” he said.
It also includes $1.6 million from other levels of government,” according to a graph shown by the city treasurer.
Both the airport and Enmax Centre were hit by COVID-19 pressures.
The forecasted impact of COVID on airport revenues compared to pre-pandemic levels, is about $1.5 million to $1.6 million, the treasurer said.
The Enmax Centre was hit by COVID-19 due to event cancellations.
“It is forecast that corporate departmental pressures for COVID-19 will total $1.7 million. This includes $790,000 loss for the Enmax Centre related to extending sponsorships and licence contracts due to the facility closures,” he said.
There is also $400,000 of a negative variance in Enmax operations due entirely to minimal revenue being generated for the first eight months of the year and reduced event activity in the last quarter of 2021 because of COVID-19.
“In regards to COVID-19 and its future impacts, the forecast currently includes the estimated costs associated with the city’s response to COVID-19 to Dec. 31, 2021,” Matthews said.
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