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Home News Pandemic costs to City increase according to latest financial impact update

Pandemic costs to City increase according to latest financial impact update

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Pandemic costs to City increase according to latest financial impact update
City of Prince Albert -- Herald file photo.

The COVID-19 pandemic will cost the City of Prince Albert more than originally thought, despite city facilities starting to reopen.

An updated financial report included in the agenda package for Monday’s executive committee meeting shows an estimated $906,606 in losses. Previous estimates made on June 4 showed $632,588 in losses.

City of Prince Albert Financial Director Cheryl Tkatchuk wrote that data from the month July was not yet available. The numbers were included in the agenda package for Monday’s executive committee meeting.

As with previous fiscal updates, Tkatchuk emphasized that the situation remains fluid, so residents may see these numbers change again in the future.

“The assumption is that most facilities will be able to return to modified operations in September or October,” Tkatchuk wrote. “Reduced revenues have been assumed for certain facilities until the end of December (i.e. Art Hauser Centre and E.A. Rawlinson Centre) due to decreased demand or limitations on allowed capacity.

“If facility usage and demand does not return to normal at most locations by September or October, there could be additional costs.”

Even if all public facilities open, the City still stands to lose an estimated $1.78-million in facility and program revenues. However, that’s an improvement on previous estimates, which showed a loss of more than $3-million.

Re-opening means the City will save roughly $1.47-million in staffing costs instead of the previously estimated $2.5-million.

The City has not cancelled or postponed existing contracts and agreements for janitorial services, sponsorship agreements, leases or operating agreements during the pandemic. Tkatchuk wrote that administration requires legal advice on some of those deals before taking action.

Predicted public transportation losses have also decreased slightly. Previous estimates showed the City would lose nearly $223,000 due to low bus ridership. However, Tkatchuk wrote they now expect to lose around $194,344. Council has already voted to cut some transit services, such as the Rush Hour Bus Route, to save more money.

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased supply costs for cleaning, shields, disinfectants and personal protective equipment (PPE) at city facilities. Those extra costs are still being calculated.

The City’s decision to resume handing out parking tickets and charging for downtown metered parking has increased projected revenue. However, city officials still expect to see a $449,000 decline in parking and ticket revenue due to the pandemic.

Tkatchuk also wrote that the City has experienced “a substantial increase” in unpaid water bills since the start of the pandemic. She expects some accounts won’t be able to pay until the end of September, if not later.

Prince Albert City Council has already voted to increase their line of credit by $10-million, while also taking out a $10-million short term loan.

The discussion on how the pandemic has affected Prince Albert’s finances is one of seven reports on the agenda for Monday’s executive committee meeting. The agenda also includes four delegations speaking on four different topics, plus an eight item consent agenda. The meeting starts at 2 p.m. in City Hall.