Pandemic's impact on City of Kamloops unpredictable, but stable

City weathers COVID-19

While city operations have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, a balance appears to have been struck, for now, between actions taken, a reduction in revenue and a reduction in expenditures.

"We aren’t coming to council asking you to change the budget," explained financial director Kathy Humphrey at Tuesday's council meeting. "We may find that as the year goes on, we may need to change it."

In her report, she explained the city expected a nearly $7.9-million impact to revenue in the spring, but in her updated numbers, that impact was decreased to $5.6 million. However, at the same time, expenditures didn't drop as much as expected. A $7-million impact was expected in the spring, but in the city's updated numbers for June, that's been revised to $4.9 million. Both impacts have changed by a bit more than $2 million.

Part of the reason for the changes is the earlier reopening of activities; Humphrey explained the city's earlier estimates planned for a six-month shutdown. That means revenue from things like parking and transit are up, but so are costs for staffing.

Additionally, the city expected to save more on things like utilities or fuel, but things didn't work as expected necessarily. Humphrey gave the example of high fuel costs due to staff using more vehicles since physical distancing in a single vehicle isn't possible (so two people headed to the same site would require two vehicles). WorkSafeBC standards also impacted costs.

Aside from increased revenue, the city also saw a one-time bump of $1 million thanks to hospital development permits, Humphrey noted.

Additionally, 94 per cent of residential and 61 per cent of commercial property taxes are in. Humphrey explained the city's cash flow situation is currently stable and there's no need to draw from reserves at this time.

Though things are stable now, Humphrey warned the city should remain prepared to be nimble.

"The pandemic is not over. We need to be prepared to adjust for second wave," she said.

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