DAN CEARNS, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, for The Standard
KAWARTHA LAKES: City of Kawartha Lakes CAO Ron Taylor provided councillors with an update on the city’s 2020 financial situation during a virtual meeting on Tuesday, May 26th. “In terms of pandemic expenses, and also just immediate response, we do anticipate, and are forecasting, approximately $3.2 million in lost revenue. That will be lost and not recoverable just based on a suspension of services,” the CAO explained. But the City has a plan on how to offset that loss in revenue. “Our strategy now, and I would suggest through 2020, will remain that we want to, wherever possible, reduce operating expenses this year by that same amount to offset the impact of these lost revenues. We’ve been successful to date, in my opinion, in doing that and we’ll continue to do that unless directed otherwise,” Mr. Taylor said. The City did get some positive news through a review of last year’s budget. “In 2019, we realized a surplus of approximately $3 million,” CAO Taylor stated. Mayor Andy Letham did caution though, during a telephone press conference on Wednesday, May 27th, that the surplus number is currently only a projection. “Until we get our financial audited statements, then that’s not money we will obviously look at using this year to offset anything. It will go towards where we want to go next year with recovery or our budget,” he said. CAO Taylor added to the mayor’s comment. “At this point, it’s a forecast. We’re going to bring it forward to council in June. It’s going to be council direction in terms of how that money is applied. But, as the Mayor said, and I would agree and recommend, in the immediate term we put it away, like we’ve been doing with other efficiencies. Put it in a reserve until we are clearer on how our recovery efforts as a municipality and a community are going to be,” Mr. Taylor explained.