City Implements Initiatives to Mitigate Financial Impacts of COVID-19

26-May-2020

The City of Greater Sudbury is implementing several measures to mitigate the financial deficit caused by COVID-19.

Today the City announces it will not be proceeding with its summer student hiring program. It will also extend its program to defer hiring for vacant full-time positions.

As a result of the cancellation of the summer student program, which sees the hiring of 280 seasonal, part-time employees, the following services will be affected:
• All City-run summer camps and programs are cancelled, including neighbourhood association day camps.
• No lifeguard supervision will take place at municipal beaches.
• Parks, trails, sports fields and other recreational areas and open spaces will be maintained to ensure public safety, however services may be delayed. This means grass cutting, garbage cleanup and other general maintenance activities may take longer than usual.
• All museums will remain closed. At this time, provincial orders state that museums are not permitted to open.

Residents who have prepaid for summer programming will be automatically refunded. If you have not received your refund by June 12, please call 311.

The elimination of the summer student program avoids costs of $1.7 million, which will instead be directed toward reducing the projected COVID-19 deficit.

“COVID-19 has led to financial pressure on families, businesses and organizations throughout our community, and that includes our municipality,” said City of Greater Sudbury Chief Administrative Officer Ed Archer. “At this time, due to orders under the provincial emergency, the future of summer programming and recreational facilities is very uncertain. We are also unclear on the level of hesitation by residents to participate in these activities. This is a very complex and difficult decision, but we must do everything we can to mitigate the long-term financial impact of this global pandemic on our taxpayers.”

In addition to the suspension of the summer student program, City Council has approved an increase in the deferred hiring of vacant positions from $1 million (approved in the 2020 Budget) to $2.5 million. This will avoid costs worth an additional $1.5 million, which will instead be directed toward the projected COVID-19 deficit.

These decisions become part of the City’s ongoing and previously announced deficit mitigation efforts. A series of expenditure controls, and the temporary layoff of 322 seasonal and part-time staff announced on April 9, continue to be in effect.

The projected deficit until the end of June is currently $6.8 million. This includes loss of revenue from parking, transit, facility rentals and sports and programming fees. The City has also increased services to protect vulnerable populations, adjusted working conditions and locations to ensure health and safety and physical distancing, and altered service levels to respond to changes in demand, public health directives and financial realities. This has added increased pressures on the 2020 budget.

An updated report on the municipality’s COVID-19 financial situation is scheduled to be presented to the Finance and Administration Committee of Council on Tuesday, June 2.

“This unprecedented situation requires us to be flexible and implement additional mitigation strategies,” continued Archer. “We remain committed to providing municipal services while also taking steps to reduce the potential for a deficit at year-end. We are constantly managing the risk associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.”

Under the Province’s emergency orders, playgrounds, outdoor fitness equipment, splash pads, and all indoor recreational facilities remain closed. Organized sports involving teams and close contact are not permitted under these provincial orders.

For COVID-19 updates and information related to City services, visit www.greatersudbury.ca/covid, or find us on social media at www.facebook.com/GreaterSudbury and www.twitter.com/GreaterSudbury.

For the most up-to-date local information on COVID-19, visit the Public Health Sudbury & Districts website at www.phsd.ca/coronavirus.