Director of Finance and Town Treasurer of Halton Hills, Moya Jane Leighton, recently brought forward a report on lost revenues, increased costs and the impacts of COVID-19 on the municipality.
The report detailed that the loss of revenue was primarily due to program cancellations, facility closures, reduced development application revenues and fee waivers for ActiVan, third party loans and library fines.
Additionally, due to the unanticipated COVID-19 pandemic, the Town faced expenses for increased cleaning and sanitation, extra personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff, technology and staff overtime.
As a result, the combined revenue losses and additional expenses contributed to almost $1.3M in net COVID-19 related losses for the municipality.
According to the report, costs were partially offset through savings that were achieved by reducing part-time staff, contracted services, operating expenditures and discretionary spending.
With funding from the Provincial Safe Re-start Program, it has allowed the municipality to recover its COVID-19 related losses of $1.3M in its entirety.
Under the Provincial Safe Re-start Program, funds are awarded through the Municipal Operations and Transit.
“I am very pleased that the Province recognizes the financial strain on municipalities to manage the impacts of the pandemic,” said Mayor Rick Bonnette.
“At the local level, we are doing what we can to support our communities and the Ontario Safe Re-Start Program is most welcome and helpful in supporting the Town to meet the needs of our community.”
The report also supports the establishment of sustainable financing, asset management and master plans and continues to provide communications with the Town’s residents and business owners.
Additionally, according to the report, it is expected that the Town’s 2020 operations will result in a net surplus of $782,730 after using the funding.
“The Town of Halton Hills is in a strong financial position as a result of implementing a comprehensive COVID-19 cost reduction and mitigation plan at the start of the pandemic, combined with the timely financial support provided through the Federal Provincial Safe Restart Agreement,” stated the report.
“In addition, the Town has a clearly defined Long Range Financial Plan, with a structured approach to ensuring reserve balances are maintained. This allows the Town to continue to manage the fiscal impacts of this unforeseen/unplanned pandemic through a combination of deferring expenditures and using the available operating surplus to strengthen cash reserves.”
To offset 2020 COVID-19 related losses, the Town of Halton Hills received a respective total of $1,334,000 and $71,987.