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Prince George city council to consider amending city budget under COVID-19 strain

COVID-19 is costing the city $1.3 million per month
Prince George City Hall
Prince George City Hall. (via Hanna Petersen)

The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting everyone, and the City of Prince George is no exception.

According to a news release, the COVID-19 pandemic is responsible for the city's declining revenues, now approaching $1.3 million per month.

The city is now preparing to make amendments to its 2020 budget and council’s Standing Committee on Finance and Audit will be holding a special meeting on Monday, April 20 to consider changes and potential impacts on Prince George's operations services, capital projects, staffing levels, property taxes and bills for city utilities.

City staff have produced a background report that’s been published on its website as part of the meeting agenda, which identifies the reductions to multiple revenue sources, the largest of which is the near-$600,000 monthly reduction in revenue as a result of the closure of civic facilities.

The report also includes cost-cutting options aimed at helping to offset these losses for council’s consideration.

These include deferring $25 million in capital projects.

With regards to staffing, the city says part-time and casual shifts at facilities such as the arenas, pools and the Prince George Conference and Civic Centre are no longer being scheduled, affecting about 100 part-time staff.

In addition, non-essential staff hires are frozen and 13 public works seasonal labourer positions are not being filled.

The Finance and Audit Committee meeting will be closed to the public as a result of public health orders relating to physical distancing, but the event will be streamed live on the city website starting at Noon.

The Finance and Audit Committee is chaired by Coun. Garth Frizzell and includes Mayor Lyn Hall, and Councillors Frank Everitt, and Cori Ramsay.

Recommendations from the Finance and Audit Committee will be forwarded to city council for consideration at its April 27 meeting.

Then during the May 11 meeting, council will be able to formally adopt any changes to the city budget and the tax levy.