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City of Edmonton reveals ‘Reimagine’ plan to dig out of $172M coronavirus hole

Click to play video 'City of Edmonton operating in ‘new and stark’ fiscal reality: Iveson' City of Edmonton operating in ‘new and stark’ fiscal reality: Iveson
Mayor Don Iveson said the City of Edmonton's ability to provide services has been severely disrupted by both the COVID-19 pandemic and economic recession, and is now operating under a 'new and stark' fiscal reality. – Jul 8, 2020

The City of Edmonton has released its plan to help the city come back from the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the anticipated $172 million budget impact.

In the best-case scenario, the impact could be as low as $151 million. The worst-case scenario could see a hit as high as $253 million.

Read more: Coronavirus: City of Edmonton announces economic recovery program for businesses

The Reimagine plan will look at ways to continue building a healthy, prosperous city while working to balance the budget, the city said in a release on Wednesday.

“While we cannot foresee everything that lies ahead, I want to reassure Edmontonians that we have a plan for getting through this, and for keeping Edmonton on track as a great and vibrant city,” interim city manager Adam Laughlin said.

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Click to play video 'City of Edmonton’s plan dig out of $172M coronavirus hole' City of Edmonton’s plan dig out of $172M coronavirus hole
City of Edmonton’s plan dig out of $172M coronavirus hole – Jul 8, 2020

The plan features five main areas of work: reimagining city building, reimagining services, modernizing the workforce, focusing on being a more relationship-based city and increasing financial viability.

Read more: COVID-19 budget projections show grimmer story for City of Edmonton

Within those areas, there are 29 specific actions that the city said will help it move forward.

“We are driven by the long term vision and goals for the city which were developed well before the pandemic struck. Other cities may be exploring a ‘back to basics’ approach, but for us, focusing on Edmonton’s strategic plan remains critical,” Laughlin said.

“Setting priorities and being clear about the choices we make will be the important and difficult work of this council over the coming year.”

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Though long-term financial forecasting is in the early stages, the city expects the financial strain to continue beyond 2021.

To deal with the ongoing financial hardship, the city said it will continue to “carefully manage expenses” as well as seeking new, more efficient ways of doing business.

Click to play video 'City of Edmonton faces harsh reality of $172M coronavirus hole' City of Edmonton faces harsh reality of $172M coronavirus hole
City of Edmonton faces harsh reality of $172M coronavirus hole – Jul 8, 2020