So far, Sooke is weathering pandemic’s economic storm

District has not dipped into reserve funds

The district is in a good financial position – enough so that Sooke is not relying on reserve funds to help it weather the economic storm brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sooke council reviewed its financial future Monday, with a report presented by Raechel Gray, the director of financial services.

“It’s going to be a tight year,” said Gray

“We’re on track to come in on budget for almost all of our expenses, and the ones that are over, there will be savings from other departments.”

As of July 22, the district is over the 90 per cent collection rate for 2020 property taxes, and combined with the ability to defer provincial school tax payments until the end of the year, there should be significant cash flow, Gray said.

Most departments are on track for expenses, with some underspending such as council for travel, events and contingency funds; office administration costs are underspent with professional travel development and property maintenance; financial services, planning, operations, fire, and sewer are on track for most expenses, with professional development expected to be under budget.

But some areas are at risk of increases in spending such as employee recruitment, volunteer firefighter remuneration, and

sewer contractors.

The parks department is on track for the most expenses, as salary and material budgets are overspent due to additional staff time and supplies related to COVID-19 costs that are not reimbursable from the province.

Boat launch and casino revenue are under budget while building permit fees are forecasted to come in over budget.

Most capital projects planned in 2020 are expected to be completed, among them the multi-sport box at SunRiver, the third year of the road program, work on the Throup and Church road connector, and the DeMamiel Creek crossing.

However, some buildings repairs, art projects, fire car No. 1 replacement, the Whiffin Spit memorial wall, and electric vehicle charging station install may be delayed until 2021.

ALSO READ: No campfires: Sooke raises fire danger rating to ‘extreme’

ALSO READ: Food truck pilot project begins in Sooke parks



editor@sookenewsmirror.com

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