Snow, COVID-19 continue to hurt Winnipeg’s bottom line: report

The City of Winnipeg is blaming a long and snowy 2021-22 winter and the ongoing economic of COVID-19 for a projected shortfall in the city’s operating budget this year.

The city’s third quarter financial report shows a projected operating budget deficit of $56.8 million and an additional shortfall of $17.2 million for Winnipeg Transit.

Read more: COVID-19 continues to eat into Winnipeg’s budget, finance report shows

The financial status and forecast report, which looks at the city’s finances up to the end of September, will be presented to the finance committee Dec. 1.

The report shows high fuel rates and significant snowfall last winter led to a forecasted $40.9 million over-expenditure for snow and ice removal for the year.

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Click to play video: 'COVID-19 continues to eat into Winnipeg’s budget, finance report shows'

COVID-19 continues to eat into Winnipeg’s budget, finance report shows

A release from the city Friday says rising fuel costs have “escalated beyond what was anticipated in the 2022 budget update” leading to a forecasted $10.7-million financial hit, largely impacting the operating budgets for Winnipeg Transit and the city’s general revenue fund.

“The third quarter financial report continues to show how the City has been challenged by the continued financial impacts of COVID-19 while also contending with significant over-expenditures in snow and ice operations this year,” said finance committee chair, Coun. Jeff Browaty, in the release.

Read more: COVID-19 plus heavy snow equals big dent in Winnipeg city budget

The report shows COVID-19 is also continuing to negatively affect the city’s bottom line.

According to the report, as of Sept. 30, COVID-19 has led to an estimated $12.1-million in costs over and above the $41.3 million the city had anticipated the pandemic would have in its 2022 budget.

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Click to play video: 'City council passes 2022 budget'

City council passes 2022 budget

Browaty said the city’s financial general reserve fund may be left “significantly depleted” if it’s drawn on to avoid a deficit in the general revenue fund.

Read more: Winnipeg city budget tax increase to pay for COVID-19, police pension overruns

“Current projections show a year-end balance of the reserve fund to be $14.5 million, which is far below the Council-mandated minimum balance,” he said in a city release.

“The limited resources remaining in the Fiscal Stabilization Fund will need to be considered in the 2023 annual budget update.”

Click to play video: 'Richard Cloutier breaks down the 2022 City of Winnipeg budget'

Richard Cloutier breaks down the 2022 City of Winnipeg budget

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