Skip to content

Timmins 'doing OK' financially through COVID-19

Director of finance predicts breaking even by year's end
2020-06-09 City hall MH
Timmins City Hall on Algonquin Boulevard. Maija Hoggett/TimminsToday

Timmins is "doing OK" financially, according to the director of finance.

A report from Natalie Moore at the June 30 council meeting gave an update on the impact of COVID-19 on the city.

"Obviously we are seeing some significant impacts on our revenue, but we are seeing some offset with the savings in the expenses. Right now with things slowly falling back into place we are predicting to break even by the end of the year,” she told council.

If there is a second wave of COVID-19, Moore noted the numbers are going to change.

In April, staff projected a $2.4 million revenue shortfall. The actual cost is now expected to be higher, though.

In March, April and May the city total revenue loss was $2.1 million. Staff is forecasting another $790,000 loss in June, which would bring the revenue shortfall to more than $2.9 million. A report with the actuals from that month is expected at an upcoming council meeting. 

The breakdown of total revenue loss from March to May and the projected impacts are:

• Parks and Recreation total so far is $209,051. The projected impact is $328,000. The report says the impact on facilities in the fall is unknown and "dependent on sporting activities resuming to normal levels in September."

• Transit's total to date is $329,989. The projected impact is $493,000.

• Finance's total so far is $410,186. The projected impact was $211,000. According to the report, the lost revenues are from interest and penalties being waived. "This is higher than originally projected as we estimated the loss on a monthly average were interest and penalties are higher in the first part of the year since due dates are earlier in the year. The projection on this revenue is dependent on the period we choose to defer interest and penalties and unpaid taxes," reads the report.

• Planning and Building's impact so far is $99,530. The projected impact is $196,000. Building permits were received and reviewed when city hall was closed, but provincial restrictions on construction prevented any from being issued. Since early June, 46 permits have been issued.

• $140,341 of other revenue loss for items not in the orginal projection. It includes tipping fees, fire and museum. The report notes the most noticeable area affected is commercial tipping fees, which dipped $83,501. While residential landfill visits increased, revenue wasn't produced because of the minimum tonnes exemption. At the museum, there was $17,972 in lost revenue to date, and $38,868 at the fire department.

• The airport's impact so far is $541,408. The projected impact is $1.06 million.

• Provincial offence court's (POA) impact so far is $122,313. The projected impact is $125,000. The report explains the POA gets revenue from charges imposed by various law enforcements. Some provincial courts resumed today (July 6), but Timmins isn't one of them. The POA office started collecting minor traffic payments, such as Highway Traffic Act violations, June 22.

• The library's lost $4,771 in revenue so far. The projected impact is $10,000.

• Parking has lost $172,285 in revenue. These projections were not included in the original forecast. Staff expect another $222,285 in lost revenue for June for parking tickets, meter and permit fees, which were waived in March and reinstated last week.

• Police has lost $18,030 due to the closing of the station to the public. The loss projection to the end of June is $27,030.

• There has been $88,410 lost in interest and penalties on water receivables that were not included in the original forecast. The projection on it depends on how long council defers interest and penalties on unpaid accounts, according to the report.

In 2021, Moore said the city will feel the impact of loss revenue from the Municipal Accommodation Tax collected from area hotels. That is expected to be a $197,000 loss.

Impact on Expenses

Moore said the city is well below their predictions on expenses, which are anticipated to be $649,000. With savings in some departments and COVID funding for the Golden Manor, the city report shows a savings of $331,484.

The impact is expected to be the greatest at the Golden Manor, where the projected pandemic expenses are $816,000. So far, expenses have been $195,426. The report explains the costs are for PPE supplies and overtime. To help the manor increase screening and cleaning, 14 staff were redeployed from other departments.

"This was beneficial in a few ways because it allowed us to keep our fulltime staff employed and it did reduce the cost for the Golden Manor in terms of overtime for them to have used their own staff to do all this extra work or we would have incurred it in contractor costs for the screening,” said Moore. 

The city also received $122,400 in funding to offset some the COVID-19 costs. With the provincial government's 'hero pay', the report notes staff have received an extra $4 per hour. There's also a monthly lump-sum of $250 for staff who worked more than 100 hours in a month. The report notes the pandemic pay is paid by the city and the province will reimburse it.

The direct COVID-19 costs for Timmins so far is $143,966 in wages and benefits, PPE, disinfectant and janitorial costs. The total projected cost is $350,000 as there is PPE that's been ordered but not received yet.

Extra expenses of $1.6 million were also anticipated at Timmins Police, Porcupine Health Unit, and Cochrane District Social Services Administration Board (CDSSAB).

The report notes the police department has "managed staff and costs well during the pandemic which did not incur extra expenses."

At the health unit, the city reports it's received provincial funding and can use its reserves to offset extra costs.

"CDSSAB has also received some funding provincially, but funding from industry partners has been key in addressing rising homeless and food security costs," reads the report.

Moore said all departments were asked to find savings in operating and capital budgets and to find a one per cent saving on the net budget.

“Most departments did achieve this and the majority of them did that by eliminating the training and travel, by eliminating the hiring of summer students and also by postponing the hiring of vacant positions,” she said.

The city has also deferred $1.7 million in capital, including transfers to reserves, as well equipment and projects from the 2020 program.

Moore said they haven't heard anything about received municipal funding from higher levels of government. 

She said the federal government has approved releasing the gas tax early, and the provincial government deferred school board payments for one quarter, which has helped with cash flow.

A report with June financials is expected back at council.

When that is presented, staff will also be looking for council's input on rent relief for businesses who rent from the city, as well as how long to waive the interest on tax and water.