The City of Winnipeg’s latest financial status and forecast report is projecting another bad year under COVID-19.
The report, which looks at the city’s finances up to Aug. 31, projects a $16.6-million deficit in the tax-supported operating budget and an additional shortfall of $10.6 million for Winnipeg Transit.
In all, the report estimates COVID-19 will have an $84.3-million impact on the city’s finances this year, up $23.1 million from what had been anticipated for 2021.
“Despite budgeting for significant financial impacts due to COVID-19 this year, the City will need to draw on the Financial Stabilization Reserve Fund to end 2021 in a balanced position,” St. James councillor and chair of the city’s finance committee Scott Gillingham said in a Friday release.
“The City remains focused on prudent fiscal management with the aim of achieving financial recovery.
“There will be more challenges on the horizon as the financial pressures on the City caused by the pandemic will continue through next year, resulting in difficult decisions needed in the 2022 budget process.”
An annual financial report released in June showed the city recorded a $52.4-million deficit in 2020, compared with $20.6 million the year before.
The city’s release says its economic outlook for fall 2021 uses new economic data to further analyze the impacts of COVID-19 on business, employment, housing and other areas.
The latest outlook also includes updated forecast scenarios that propose plausible outcomes for the pandemic through 2022, the release adds.
“Winnipeg has seen a positive economic recovery from the pandemic throughout 2021, but that recovery has been uneven across industries due to changes in human behaviours and public health measures,” city economist Tyler Markowsky said in the release.
“Given COVID-19 is a global pandemic which, according to leading epidemiological research, will only be brought under control once the global population is largely vaccinated, it is reasonable to assume based upon current information we will be dealing with this pandemic for the foreseeable future.”
The latest financial status and forecast report will be presented to the city’s finance committee Oct. 15.
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