Town of Qualicum Beach council continues work on its 2021-2025 financial plan.
Council meets again Wednesday (Dec. 9) and staff has recommended the budget be given second reading. The public will be given an opportunity to give their input on the proposed budget by joining the meeting via Zoom. Those wishing to participate have to register at https://www.qualicumbeach.com/financialplan to join.
The town previously deferred second reading of the financial plan to allow staff time to assess the impact of the provincial government’s $2,359,000 COVID-19 Restart Grant and report back to council.
Approximately $900,000 of the grant has been applied to expenditures incurred in 2020. For 2021, $1,175,000 will be used on COVID-19 related issues that will prevent the town from dipping from its reserves or reducing service levels in 2021. This will leave approximately $284,000 to be allocated from the grant.
In 2021, the $1,175,000 grant will offset COVID-related budget impacts that include revenue reductions in water and sewer rates due to slow down in businesses and closures. The grant will also help cover increase expenditures that include administrative COVID impacts, improving information technology, COVID direct cleaning costs and community development COVID restart initiatives.
The proposed budget does not reflect any town employee layoffs as a result of COVID-19. There will be areas where there would be less work but there are other operations that would require additional work demands to which employees could be redirected.