Saskatoon saves money while managing pandemic

Saskatoon officials have lauded the city’s efforts in surviving the challenges last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, while still managing to provide services to the public despite all the health restrictions and protocols implemented by the Saskatchewan Health Authority.

The City of Saskatoon recently released its 2020 Report on Service, Savings, Sustainability where city officials are emphasizing how city staff and personnel managed to continue to provide service to the public despite the challenges brought by the pandemic.

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City officials said, with the help of the city staff and personnel, ways were found to improve services and other programs to residents with the goal of saving and reducing impact on the environment. It has been almost two weeks since SHA lifted all health restrictions, but city officials said they will have a gradual approach in following the province’s re-open roadmap.

City Hall will continue to use the barriers in all offices while also practicing increased cleaning and disinfecting. All in-person transactions and forms of public engagement will be restored within the year while personnel and other staff who work in critical services — those who enter residences and other business establishments — are still going to wear masks and practice social distancing.

Mayor Charlie Clark and the city council, in their combined message released on the city’s website, said they continue to pursue a shared leadership role in solving problems and making sure all ideas presented by city personnel and staff are heard.

“This report exemplifies how City of Saskatoon employees find innovative ways of doing their work, find efficiencies, and go above and beyond for the people of Saskatoon. I’m grateful that we such a great team of leaders here at the City,” said Saskatoon Mayor Clark.

“This past year included obstacles as staff had to collaborate on work, while at the same time being physically apart as much of our staff worked from home. It has been an unprecedented year and we can all be extremely proud in having minimal service disruptions that residents rely on daily,” added the 10-member city council.

Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer Celene Anger, in a separate message, said she’s been proud of the work done by all City employees. “Despite last year’s extraordinary circumstances, including a work-from-home directive impacting about 1,000 staff, they continued to find innovative ways to continue the safe delivery of essential core services to residents, maximize value for taxpayer dollars and minimize costs for the Corporation.”

According to the SSS report, the city saved an estimated $850,000 on its operational budget last year while Saskatoon Land earned $43.7 million in sales and leasing revenues. The city also received a total of $69.8 million in grant funding from the federal and provincial programs.

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