Kimberley City Council and staff were already well into budget deliberations when they received the welcome, but unexpected, news of an over $2 million COVID-19 restart grant.
In a report to Council, Chief Financial Officer Jim Hendricks said that he anticipated that $250,000 of those funds would be spent before the end of 2020, with the rest ($1,837,000) being spent in 2021.
The intent of the funding is to support local governments as they deal with higher operating cots and lower revenue due to COVID-19.
It may be used for:
• addressing revenue shortfalls;
• facility reopening and operating costs;
• emergency planning and response costs;
• bylaw enforcement and protective services like fire protection and police;
• computer and other electronic technology costs to (improve interconnectivity and virtual communications);
• services for vulnerable persons (e.g. persons living with disabilities; mental illness or addictions, persons experiencing homelessness or other vulnerabilities); and
• other related costs.
Mayor Don McCormick said that the full impact of COVID in terms of finances hadn’t been felt yet, but that having this reserve would make sure the city wasn’t caught.
Coun. Sandra Roberts commented that looking at the list, she was surprised at how much had been spent so far.
Senior managers were to look at their departments to identify where the funding would be needed.
Quite an extensive list of areas where there has been some funding shortfall, or revenue loss, or some action needs to be taken, has been assembled.
Aquatic Centre user fees lost due to facility shutdown
Civic Centre user fees lost due to facility shutdown
Marysville Arena user fees lost due to facility shutdown
Centennial Hall user fees lost due to facility shutdown
Fire Training Program revenue shortfall
Facility Reopening and Operating Costs
Fire Department – recover Call-Force staffing costs already incurred
City Hall – recover supply and facility retrofit costs already incurred (PPE, plexiglass, etc.)
City Hall – improve security at front entrance in Council Chambers
City Hall – new entrance for staff including new door and security systems
City Hall – space planning/renovations to accommodate staff additions while allowing for recommended social distancing
Aquatic Centre – renovate existing entrance/exit
Aquatic Centre – install exit door in multi-purpose room, adjust exit access and landscaping
Aquatic Centre – install roofing on pergola area over new exit (safety)
Aquatic Centre – purchase floating pool dividers
Aquatic Centre – add a shower next to the steam room and another at the misting station
Aquatic Centre – purchase plastic bins for temporary storage of patron’s personal items
Aquatic Centre – purchase free standing automated hand sanitizing stations
Public Works Yard – renovate main hallway to create additional space for social distancing
Public Works Yard – renovate to create space for an office for the Parks & Facilities Manager
Public Works Yard – expand the existing lunchroom as it’s currently too small to socially distance more than 10 employees. Currently there are 28 employees + casuals working at the yards. With potential staff additions the total # of employees utilizing this area could be 40+.
Retrofit City facilities with touchless taps, paper towel dispensers, urinals and toilets
Various City Facilities – install hand wash stations
Various City Facilities – review janitorial contract and potentially enhance current service levels to meet COVID-19 protocols
Various City Facilities – upgrade HVAC systems to improve air exchange (if deemed necessary)
Council Chambers – recover hardware and software costs already incurred in relation to the broadcasting of Council Meetings
Council Chambers – audio visual equipment assessment and upgrades to enhance current Council Meeting broadcasting capabilities
Link the online meeting broadcast to the iCompass electronic agenda
IT upgrades to enhance current virtual meeting capabilities
IT hardware/software investment to support remote working and emergency response and resiliency (i.e. back up power systems, additional laptops, additional headsets)
Platform to enhance online payment options for the public and allow for the online completion and submission of permit and license applications
Funding for electronic records management (scanning of records) to support remote working
Enhance “Tap” payment capabilities at City Hall and recreation facilities
Mental health and wellness training/support for staff
Subscription to software that would facilitate enhanced email communication to the public (e.g. emergency notifications, City newsletter)
Temporary outdoor rink in one of the ball fields in Marysville
Heaters for the Platzl to enable the public to spend more time outdoors in the cooler months
Renovations/upgrades to accommodate social distancing at the 2022 municipal elections