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Emergency Operations Update: Oshawa continues to focus on strong fiscal management and business continuity

Emergency Operations Update: Oshawa continues to focus on strong fiscal management and business continuity

During these unprecedented times, we must balance the needs of the community with our current economic state while also ensuring the long-term financial sustainability of the corporation. We’ve had to make some hard decisions and we are working to support our community with compassion during this very difficult time,”

OSHAWA – During the April 27 regular Council meeting, City of Oshawa staff provided an update on the City’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including steps taken to ensure business continuity, keep critical functions and services operating, and contain expenditures, as well as measures to support residents and local businesses.

Business Continuity

The City has put in place a number of measures to ensure business continuity and a safe working environment for its essential workers.

Facility maintenance and repair activities are necessary, ongoing and essential. City staff continue to provide essential services to ensure that the City’s building structures, systems and infrastructure remain in proper operating condition, including providing routine and scheduled maintenance.

City workers continue to provide essential services that help to keep Oshawa safe and clean. This includes Fire Services, Waste Collection, Parks Operations, Municipal Law Enforcement and Licensing Services, Road Operations, Animal Services, Building Permits and Inspections, and Capital Projects and Infrastructure Maintenance. View the Public Notice to learn more.

Fiscal Management

Strong fiscal management and financial stewardship continue to guide the City’s decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Municipalities are required by legislation to achieve a balanced budget. City staff continue to review the City’s financial position with respect to the impact that the pandemic is having on revenues and expenses. Staff is tracking all costs and revenue losses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, undertaking a detailed review of the 2020 Budget and diligently identifying areas of savings to mitigate the financial impact to the City.

As a result, measures to date have included:

·         a temporary freeze on filling vacant positions (with the exception of four new firefighter positions approved by Council in 2019 and four vacant firefighter positions created by retirements and a new Fire Services Communications Officer)

·         cost containment actions, including closely scrutinizing all operating and capital accounts and avoiding all non-essential expenditures such as purchases of furniture, fixtures and equipment and training, seminars and conferences (unless already committed to or required by legislation or otherwise to perform job duties)

·         temporary layoffs of certain City employees based on provincial orders to close  schools and certain facilities to the public or due to significantly reduced workload

Additionally, the City is actively monitoring for announcements regarding financial support from the provincial and federal governments and advocating for funding to offset additional costs and lost revenues as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Relief to Residents and Businesses

To support our community members and local businesses during this difficult time, the City has offered the following tax relief measures and supports:

·         Waiving tax payment penalties and interest for 60 days for all residents and businesses, effective with the April 27, 2020 tax installment. The two-month grace period, until June 30, is for the April 27, 2020 installment with no penalties or interest charged.

·         Business, taxi and animal licences due to expire at the end of March, April and May have been extended to June 30 to allow individuals and businesses more time to submit and process these applications.

·         Providing free parking at all metered on-street locations and certain municipal parking lots in downtown Oshawa until further notice.

Updates

The City continues to post updates to its Coronavirus webpage. For a list of closures, changes to services, more information and F.A.Q.s, visit www.Oshawa.ca/coronavirus. Learn more about the City’s virtual town hall on Wednesday, May 6 at 6:30 p.m. at www.oshawa.ca/connect.

Community members concerned about their health are asked to use the Ontario COVID-19 self-assessment tool to determine if they need to seek care or refer to Lakeridge Health’s COVID-19 Assessment Clinic.