The City of Victoria is expecting a deficit between $12.5 to $17.5 million for the 2020 fiscal year, according to a report from the city’s chief financial officer.
Since the onset of the pandemic, the city has lost approximately $1.2 million per month after parking costs were lowered in April to alleviate the financial burden for drivers. Since the province has moved into Phase 3 of its restart plan, parking revenue has increased to $950,000 per month. However, a loss for the year is expected to be between $8 and $12.8 million.
The city is also expected to lose approximately $250,000 due to the closure of the Save-on-Foods Memorial Arena and another $2.3 to $2.5 million from the closure of the Victoria Conference Centre. The closure of the Crystal Pool and Fitness Centre also resulted in a revenue loss for the city, but due to lower operating costs, there is only a “negligible net financial impact to the city,” according to the report.
A number of the city’s commercial tenants, who were unable to qualify for the federal rent assistance program, are working with the city on potential rent adjustments but an estimated revenue loss of $1.1 million is expected.
Adding to the financial cost of the pandemic is the fact the city implemented increased cleaning protocols for all its facilities and additional costs related to the various encampments, such as bylaw enforcement and public works, which is estimated to have cost the city $850,000.
The report, put together by Susanne Thompson, lays out a number of strategies to mitigate the expected revenue shortfalls and additional costs incurred from the pandemic, which will be reviewed by city council on Thursday.