Update from Edmonton City Council

It’s hard to believe that we’ve reached the end of summer and are headed into fall already. I hope that everyone had an opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors and find ways to stay active. This year has brought incredible challenges for all of us, but I’ve been glad to see our community coming together to follow public health protocols and keep each other safe and healthy.

Over the last several months, we’ve all had to adapt and adjust to new realities unlike anything we’ve seen before. At the City, this included doing things like eliminating transit fares from late March until mid-June, closing recreation centres and reopening them at a lower capacity, deferring property tax payment deadlines, and increasing sanitization procedures for City property. As a result of these measures, the City expects to have a $23.8 million budget shortfall by the end of December.

In the coming months, my Council colleagues and I will be having some tough conversations with Administration to review this shortfall, and look for ways to adjust our budget. We understand that times are tough, and that the COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on every Edmontonian in one way or another. Council is committed to holding the line on tax increases, and working to keep our budget in line while still providing the core services Edmontonians rely on us for.

Put simply, we are in a difficult financial position and will need to strategically assess and prioritize City spending for the current budget cycle. We are still waiting to find out how much of the federal government’s $19-billion financial aid plan will be designated to our city, but our hope is that with support from the federal and provincial governments we will be able to mitigate the impacts of our increased spending as a result of COVID-19.

As the COVID-19 situation continues to unfold over the coming months, we will continue to review and adjust our services and priorities as needed to keep everyone in our community safe and healthy. As always, we appreciate your support and cooperation as we move through these unprecedented times together. As always, if you have any questions or comments regarding City services, the budget or the COVID-19 response, I encourage you to reach out to me at mohinder.banga@edmonton.ca.

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