Staff and leadership with the City of Dryden are continuing to adjust and adapt to the evolving COVID-19 crisis and Ontario’s ongoing State of Emergency.

At a regular, virtual council meeting held at City Hall on April 27, Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Dryden, Roger Nesbitt, offered an update on the city’s operations to city councillors.

“Our non-essential facility closures will continue at least into the immediate future. We are continuing to restrict public access to all of our municipal facilities.”

“To date, about 37 employees have been impacted by layoffs due to those closures and service curtailments. We have another almost 20 employees working from home to further strengthen our position on employee health and safety during this time.”

For qualifying employees, the city has implemented a Supplemental Unemployment Benefit Plan through the Federal Government, to add federal benefits to help ease the financial impact on employees. Health benefits will also be staying intact.

Nesbitt adds that the city’s emergency control group has continued to meet weekly, and they’ve since included a number of community partners and agencies in the meeting to discuss the community’s COVID-19 response plans.

The city declared a State of Emergency on March 28. Councillors have extended the city’s grace period on interest and penalties for property taxes and water and sewer bills through June 30, to ease some of the burden on the community.

Treasurer Steven Lansdell-Roll says the city is basing their financial projections on the current closures being extended through June. The city is currently losing revenues on:

- Waiving of interest and penalties on property tax and water bills through April 30 - $32,000
- The closure of the Dryden Recreation Centre - $137,000
- The closure of outdoor facilities through May, June - $19,000
- The closure of the Dryden Public Library - $3,000

However, the city is finding some savings on a number of cost-saving initiatives. They include:

- Staffing costs due to municipal facility closures - $134,000
- Not running the ice plant at the Rec Centre - $27,000
- Garbage and cleaning duties - $11,000
- Not hiring summer students until July 1 at the earliest - $45,000

The city is also finding savings through a lack of construction work in the city, as many contractors won’t travel due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This could mean delays for planned 2020 Capital projects in Dryden.

Ontario’s State of Emergency will continue until May 12 at the earliest, but it can be extended at any time by the province.

For more information:
37 staff laid off in Dryden
Treasurer details Dryden’s COVID-19 financial outlook