City of Kingston says COVID-19 response has cost $750,000 to date
KINGSTON -- Kingston isn’t immune to feeling the financial pressures that COVID-19 has placed on many cities around the world.
During Tuesday’s Council meeting, the city announced it has taken a $750,000 hit to its bottom line following the closures and changes that came to the city mere weeks ago.
That comes as the city says it had to tackle unplanned costs related to its novel coronavirus response, including changes to transit services and parking fees being waved.
COVID-19 related costs and a loss of revenue had the City of Kingston projecting a $3.7 million deficit at the end of April. Thanks to funding from the Ontario Government, budget savings and reserve funding, staff whittled down the projected deficit to $750,000.
Desiree Kennedy, the Kingston’s chief financial officer, says the city is working on looking ahead to August, reviewing expenses to see where it can save money.
“I think there’s a lot of unknown coming,” she explains. “In the (initial) costs, we’ve had one time costs, so we’re working on those numbers now to determine what it really looks like going forward.”
Kennedy says she thinks the city is doing well for the point that they are at, and that businesses are high on their list of considerations for what comes next. The challenge will come balancing supporting small, local businesses and the cities day-to-day essential services.
“We know it’s been a challenge to date, I expect it to be an even bigger challenge as we get back to life as we know it and the new norm. There’s going to be long term effects of that,” she explains.
The city is asking for feedback on the COVID-19 response. CAO Lanie Hurdle says the situation continues to evolve.
“We are all in this together, and it’s important that Kingstonians are aware of all of the ways we’ve had to adapt at the City,” Hurdle says in a statement.
“Every action we’ve taken has been to ensure the continued delivery of essential services while minimizing risks to residents and staff.”