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COVID-19 takes a bite out of city finances: North Bay and Sudbury
NORTH BAY -- > NORTH BAY
The City of North Bay has laid off 80 casual, part-time staff members as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Officials says its budget could also be affected.
The city is projecting $1.2 million in lost revenue by June.
"It's still early in the game," said Mayor Al McDonald. "This is more going to be like a marathon so we want to make sure we have everything in place."
McDonald says this figure represents lost revenue from city transit, parking and arena rentals.
As a result, arena staff, crossing guards, and public works employees who cannot shift from winter operations to fill seasonal, full-time positions are out of a job.
"Having said that, we're in a very strong financial position," said McDonald. "We've really concentrated on beefing up our balance sheet over the last eight years."
Nipissing University political science professor David Tabachnick says with a municipal funding shortfall, one of two things could happen.
"Either an extreme rise in property taxes, and that seems really unlikely because I think the municipal taxpayer is already stretched enough. What we're probably going to see is money coming from the province," said Tabachnick.
The city fears a long-lasting pandemic could deeply impact its bottom line because of revenue streams and the extra costs associated to assist the public.
"If you look at our agency board of commissions, they're being hit hard too," said McDonald. "They make up a big portion of our budget."
Since the province expects to be dealing with this pandemic for an undetermined period of time, Tabachnick says the next few weeks are critical.
"The future looks quite dismal if you look at some of these projections. We can hope for a better result," said Tabachnick.
The city has halted all capital projects, and says its one way to save money, but it could result in twice as many capital projects in 2021.
Meanwhile in Greater Sudbury, some new numbers are out showing the financial toll this pandemic is having on the city in terms of dollars being spent.
Greater Sudbury's Chief Administrative Officer Ed Archer says the pandemic is costing about $380,000 a week in operating costs.
Archer says this reflects a loss of revenue from city services, including transit, which has waived fees temporarily, but also increased costs on certain municipal services.
Also on hold are appeal issues surrounding the Kingsway Entertainment District and a review of the Junction West Project.