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$2.4M loss projected for Waterloo by end of June

That number includes several approved financial relief recommendations
Waterloo City Hall 2
KitchenerToday file photo

The latest staff report presented to Waterloo City Council projects a financial loss of $2.4M projected by June 30.

On Monday, council met to discuss the findings, and pass the recommendations put forward by the report.

From March to April, staff found an estimated net tax base pressure of $1.0 million, with $1.4 million forecasted for May and June. According to the report, most of it is driven by a combination of lost revenue and increased expenses amid the pandemic. The city has seen reduced recreation revenue, waived penalties and interest, and reduced parking violation revenue. Other expenses included acquiring the appropriate technology to allow staff to work from home, and the procurement of emergency protective equipment as facilities prepare to reopen to the public.

Some of those losses were partially offset by savings in the city's enterprise area, such as lower utilities use. March and April saw net savings of $446,000 combined, with staff forecasting net savings of $46,000 for May and June combined.

No projected financial impacts on building standards and rental housing, as there is not enough available data, but staff have been directed to keep monitoring it for future reports.

Those numbers also include recommendations put forward for financial relief. The city's initial phase one for financial relief is coming to an end on May 31. They initially waived penalties and interest for property taxes and utilities on past-due accounts for residents and businesses.

Phase two sees those short-term measures until June 30, including waiving non-sufficient fund fees. All additional collection activities are suspended until August 31.

An application-based property tax deferral program is also in the works, allowing property owners who qualify, to extend their final 2020 tax due dates up to 60 days.

Staff also recommend extending parking permit relief, which is seeing $70,000 in lost revenue per month. 2019 did generate a surplus of over $200,000, which will be transferred to the reserves and monitored.

Other additional city relief measures include an additional $9,500 in support of the Uptown BIA's Graffiti Removal program; another $5,000 in support of neighbourhood groups; discounted business renewal fees; and no more portable sign permits needed for the time being.

Staff will be investigating other future relief/support measures and those will be presented in the June COVID-19 update report.

CLICK HERE for the report, starting on page 78.

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