The City of Whitehorse is forecasting a deficit of $512,718 for its 2020 operating budget due to unexpected costs and cost cutting related to COVID-19.
A quarterly report presented to city council Monday laid out the various changes in city budgeting this year due to the pandemic as well as some unexpected twists.
The report says COVID-19 is expected to cost the city $1.8 million dollars because of increased costs as well as revenue shortfalls. Those include a drop of $459,650 in revenue from public transit and a $288,425 decrease in parking meter collections and parking ticket fines.
Much of that has been covered, however, through cost cutting and unexpected revenues.
The city delayed new hires and contracts. New property assessments were done in 2019 and coupled with growth in the city resulted in an unexpected $607,197 increase in property taxes.
Altogether, the unexpected revenues were just under $1.3 million.
The city's supervisor of financial reporting, Brittany Dixon, said the city doesn't know if there will be federal or territorial financial help to municipalities.
If not, Dixon said, the city is sitting on a $2 million dollar contingency fund.
City Councillor Steve Roddick said the news is a relief.
"I think we've all been kind of wondering how are we doing and how have we fared, especially when you hear about other cities to the south who are really in dire straits," Roddick said.
"So I'm really, frankly, a bit relieved to hear that it's only is as bad as you've outlined here,'' he said.
Roddick said however, it also meant consultants, instructors and others went without income because of the cost cutting.
Dixon said city operations are well underway on getting back to normal with the exception of the Canada Games Centre.