City’s year end projected deficit jumps to just over $20-million
City crews continue to work to clear roads following a major snowfall.
SASKATOON -- The cost of the wide-scale snow clearing efforts have helped push the City of Saskatoon’s projected year end deficit to $20.1-million.
The projection is contained in a report tabled during Monday’s governance and priorities meeting involving city councillors and Mayor Charlie Clark.
The deficit projection is up from the previous estimate in September of $14.6-million.
“This is higher than previous forecasts mostly due to the cost impacts of the November 2020 severe snow storm,” the report reads.
During Monday’s meet, Kari Smith, Director of Finance, said the costs of snow clearing efforts will put the snow and ice budget into a deficit position.
“The administration estimates that this storm will overspend the overall snow and ice budget by about $10-million,” said Kari Smith, Director of Finance, during Monday’s meeting.
Smith, who wrote the financial report, added that in 2021, there is expected to be further costs related to the massive snowfall on November 12th. However, those costs are not reflected in the report tabled Monday as they are going to be incurred next year.
Smith also said the projection also assumes $3.5-million will be used from the snow and ice management contingency reserve to offset the costs, but the report says using those funds will bring the balance in that reserve to zero.
Other programs and services are projecting to run a deficit. Saskatoon Transit is projecting a $4.5-million dollar deficit which factors in anticipation for low ridership and savings from reduced salaries, fuel and maintenance. Leisure centres are forecasting a deficit if $3.6-million mainly due to facilities closing in March.
Sasktel Centre and TCU Place are also expecting to finish in the red.
“SaskTel Centre is currently projecting a deficit of approximately $3.56 million due to revenue losses from cancelled events, but is partially offset by savings from layoffs, a reduction in hours to all remaining employees, and significant cuts to other budgeted expenditures.” The report reads.
The report says TCU place is also forecasting a deficit of $3.07-million because of cancelled events. It says management is working to try and offset the shortfall with layoffs, reductions in hours, and eliminating all discretionary expenditures.
City Council has already approved that $15.0-million be held from the city’s paved roadways reserve as part of a strategy to offset the City’s projected $20.1-million deficit. The report says the road program will be backfilled with money from the province’s Municipal Economic Enhancement Program.
“Budgetary impacts of the pandemic will continue to significantly affect City revenues and expenses into 2021. The Administration is currently finalizing the 2021 budget adjustments which will be considered by City Council during the December 2 and 3 Business Plan and Budget Review.” The report reads.
A previous version of this story incorrectly indicated Saskatoon Transit posted a $45-million deficit, as opposed to the actual amount: $4.5-million.