City staff will report to the Executive Committee next week on the five-month variance report on the known and expected financial impact of the pandemic and the mitigation options available as Toronto begins to rebuild and recover its economy.
Mayor John Tory and chief budget officer Gary Crawford addressed the report Tuesday morning, highlighting the $ 513.7 million in mitigation strategies the city is implementing and underscoring the need for emergency financial support to Toronto and other federal and provincial municipalities.
Since the start of the pandemic in mid-March, Toronto and other major Canadian municipalities have suffered significant financial repercussions in the form of additional costs and lost revenue resulting directly from the pandemic.
“Municipalities are on the front line to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and have been from the start, just as we will be on the front line of recovery. But the fact remains that if cities continue to respond to the pandemic, they will experience unprecedented costs and significant revenue losses, ”said Tory.
“We remain hopeful that a federal-provincial funding agreement to support municipalities can be reached to avoid devastating cuts to front-line services or unaffordable property tax increases. The city staff report released today clearly shows the harsh reality we face and the steps we have taken to save what we can. ”
Mitigation strategies include $ 513.7 million in projected cost savings through a combination of downsizing, spending and cost avoidance, including emergency layoffs, lower costs operating the TTC and adapting service capacity to demand.
An additional $ 34.1 million is also available due to the “favorable” budgetary gap in municipal property transfer tax revenues from January 1 to March 31.
Tory and the city are engaging other levels of government and are requesting emergency funding from the federal and provincial governments to offset the cumulative financial impact on Toronto’s spending and revenues.
The city manager will report to council later this month and again in September on other mitigation options that should be considered if municipalities do not receive adequate financial support from other orders of government.
In April, the city announced that it is under estimated financial pressure of $ 65 million a week due to the pandemic.