HUMBOLDT — When it comes to the effect COVID-19 has had on Humboldt’s finances, the city has pretty much broken even.
At the request of the province, the city calculated how its revenues and expenses have been affected by the pandemic. Once those figures are added up, the city is nearly $5,000 in the good.
Joe Day, the city manager, said at the Aug. 24 council meeting that the city does have some advantages in a pandemic compared to others, like not having a mass transit system or a reliance on paid parking revenues.
“I do think that, thanks to the council sitting around this table, we acted quite quickly in trying to mitigate some of our staffing costs that would otherwise have burdened the city a fair bit higher,” he said.
Back when the pandemic started, casual staff that had inconsistent hours, like concession workers and lifeguards, were told the city wouldn’t schedule any hours for them for the next little while.
Those wanting to defer taxes or utilities payments had to apply to the city to organize an alternate payment plan, unlike other cities that gave blanket deferrals.
Rob Muench, Humboldt’s mayor, acknowledged city staff that were laid off or otherwise invoiced by the pandemic.
“I think at the end of the day, we've come through this relatively unscathed and hopefully the next number of months are just as good.”
He added that some local businesses and organizations haven’t been so lucky.
“This is something that will have to give some very good thought to in the next number of months, that we can maybe look at where some of those community groups or businesses that may have fallen through the cracks can maybe be helped out in some way.”
Estimated financial effects of COVID-19
|Business license revenue||$20,000||Anticipated shortfall in revenue|
|Transit||$6,000||Fewer mobility van trips|
|Parks and Recreation Program Revenue||$288,350||Closed facilities, smaller revenues due to lower capacity and cancelled events|
|Property Tax Penalties||$11,000||Anticipate 33% of typical penalized properties will move to payment arrangements|
|Investment Income||$47,350||Reduction of interest rates by about 1.6%|
|Recreational Facility Operating Expenses||-$343,120||Reduced staffing and utilities|
|Other reduced staffing costs||-$29,800|
|Increase operating costs due to COVID-19||$21,500||Glass barriers, personal protective equipment, signage, etc.|