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Iveson: Big budget cuts, property tax increases a possibility without funding for cities
EDMONTON -- As the COVID-19 crisis drags on, Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson said the city’s financial situation is dire.
A month ago, Iveson said he was confidant money would be coming from the federal government to help municipalities. Iveson was part of a $10-billion ask from the Federation of Municipalities.
While the federal government has dedicated billions of dollars in relief during the pandemic to various groups, there haven’t been any announcements about municipalities.
Last month the city approved its operating budget based on the idea that relief money was coming. Without that help Iveson said difficult decisions will have to be made.
“We may need to consider in-year cuts to it if things get very bad, and we'll certainly consider contraction in 2021 and 2022,” he said. “Significant, eight or nine figure contraction, tens or hundreds of millions of dollars in reductions.”
The city has already laid off thousands of employees and cut back non-essential services.
Without money from the province or Ottawa, the city will likely have to lay off more staff, and council may need to cancel big infrastructure projects and-or jack up property taxes.
City staff is now working on a report that lays out all the funding scenarios.
Council also passed those previous budget adjustments assuming it would be back to business as usual in September, but if closures and other COVID-related restrictions last into the fall, the city is looking at up to a $170 million hole in the budget.
With files from CTV News Edmonton's Jeremy Thompson