The City’s Finance and Economic Development Committee today received an update on the COVID-19 Economic Recovery and Rebound Program, a plan to assist small businesses and help with the recovery of many sectors, including tourism, festivals and special events. The City will shift focus in 2021 to Ottawa’s economic rebound and efforts to advance a rebound framework with our economic development partners.
The Committee approved the City’s 2020 operating results and disposition of any surplus or funding of any deficit in preparation for the year-end financial statements. Analysis of the 2020 operations for tax and rate-supported City programs showed that Ottawa’s tax and rate supported services ended the year with a $17.6-million surplus.
While COVID-19 expenses did result in a deficit of $238.5 million, the full amount of this budget pressure was recovered from provincial and federal government COVID-19 funding. Most of the surplus stems from cost-saving initiatives not related to the pandemic, such as a discretionary spending and hiring pause. The surplus returned to reserves could be used to help offset any additional unfunded COVID-19 pressures in 2021 or future budgets, if needed.
The Committee approved temporary delegated authorities to Ottawa Markets, designed to ensure that Ottawa Markets can achieve their mandate for the 2021 market season. The temporary delegated authorities would permit Ottawa Markets to pilot elements of their draft operational plan before it is approved by all members at their annual general meeting. Ottawa Markets also presented a series of new initiatives, including a Farmers First Policy, as well as a new local farmer and producer only market on York Street, which will take place every Saturday from May to October.
The Committee approved four funding proposals for environmental remediation of sites on Robinson Avenue, Montreal Road, Metcalfe Street and Carling Avenue. The combined overall economic benefit of these four developments is estimated to result in more than $187 million in direct construction value with more than $299.7 million in new assessments that would deliver more than $3.4 million per year in municipal taxes.
Recommendations from today’s meeting will rise to Council on Wednesday, April 14.