Haliburton County councillors will have a mid-year budget review to assess theimpact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the county’s finances.
The county is tracking its COVID-19-related costs and as of April 15 theytotalled more than $42500. About three quarters of those expenses comein the form of increased wage and benefits payments as well as medicalequipment purchases within the county’s ambulance service. Otherexpenses include costs associated with IT as well as the purchase ofcleaning supplies gloves departmental data overages etc.
Duringan April 22 council meeting held via online conferencing platform Zoomand broadcast on the county’s YouTube channel Dysart et al Deputy Mayor Pat Kennedy said he’d like to get a picture of what the impacts of theCOVID-19 crisis are going to do to the county’s bottom line.
“Ithink it’s a time to reassess our priorities” Kennedy said adding that perhaps there might be opportunities to redirect provincial funding tocover COVID-19 costs and suggesting that some county projects wouldhave to be deferred based on the size of the
Chief administrative officer Mike Rutter said staff would be preparing a mid-year report
assessing the situation.
“I whole-heartedly agree with Councillor Kennedy and I would say that even if we needed a supplemental [review] at the end of the third quarter . . . this year is going to be anything but typical” said Minden HillsMayor Brent Devolin. “And if we could have some more details quarterlyor bi-annual reporting during the course or the balance of the year Ithink that our opinions on some matters might have changed and what our voting public thinks we should or shouldn’t be doing in 2020 might bemodified.”
“I agree as well” said Algonquin Highlands Mayor CarolMoffatt “We’ve been talking a little bit about recovery and as thecommunity’s recovering . . . it could require a realignment ofexpenditures and projects and priorities because of what the government the provincial government may roll out in terms of recovery and wedon’t know what our commitments may or should be for some time. I agree that it’s a wise move just to re-assess.”