A report, written by the City of Saskatoon administration, projects a $20.1 million deficit for the city.
Administration officials presented the financial update to the Governance and Priorities Committee (GPC), which is comprised of Mayor Charlie Clark and all 10 councillors, on Monday.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has presented significant challenges for the City of Saskatoon,” it states.
Kari Smith, the city’s finance director, told the GPC that “(t)he administration estimates that this storm will overspend the overall snow and ice budget by about $10 million.” She stated she is also expecting the city to be paying for the storm into next year.
The report showed the city is earning less from transit, traffic tickets and parking, all of which decreased because fewer people are travelling during the pandemic.
She said the City still had the $15 million that council allocated from a paved roads preservation project, and an additional $19 million from the federal government, to make up the deficit.
The provincial government allocated money to offset the $15 million.
In response to a question from Coun. Randy Donauer, Smith stated that provincial law forbids a city from running a deficit.
She said the administration will work towards balancing the budget, but didn’t know how exactly it could be done just yet.
“We don’t have the plan laid out yet… because we don’t know what that final number will be,” she replied.
She said the administration will be able to report the final amount of the deficit early next year, at which point the reallocated and federal funds could be used.
She also told the councillors that the projections can change — which they have already.
Monday’s financial forecast showed a deficit that is $6 million greater than the previous update, presented in September.
Council will discuss further financial adjustments during the upcoming budget talks, scheduled for Dec. 2 and 3.