The City of Dryden is taking a close look at their finances during Ontario’s State of Emergency. Treasurer Steven Lansdell-Roll says at this point, the lowered revenues and expenses have been a wash for the city.

“Like many other businesses impacted by this pandemic, the City of Dryden’s operations have been negatively impacted by the pandemic and our corresponding facility closures.”

“It’s imperative that those impacts are addressed through cost savings measures, to ensure the financial sustainability of the city’s operation,” added Lansdell-Roll, during a virtual Committee of the Whole meeting earlier this week.

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

Lansdell-Roll is recommending to extend the city’s grace period on interest and penalties for property taxes and water and sewer bills through June 30. A decision is expected from councillors on April 27.

Lansdell-Roll added that staff are also seeing diminished revenues from water and sewer bills, as many businesses are consuming less. He also noted a deduction in Municipal Accommodation Tax revenues, due to residents’ inability to travel between communities.

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.

Yesterday, Chief Administrative Officer Roger Nesbitt confirmed that 37 municipal employees have been temporarily laid off, as the city adjusts to the ongoing COVID-19 situation.

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.

The city declared a State of Emergency on March 28. 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