According to District of Mission staff, a projected loss of more than $2 million in revenue from May to December of 2020 can be expected due to the impacts of COVID-19. / File Photo

Mission could lose $2 million in revenue

COVID-19 having a big financial impact on residents and the district

The financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic has hit everyone hard, including the District of Mission

According to a staff report, the district is projected to lose more than $2 million in revenue from May to December of 2020.

The revenue the district received from recreation and leisure activities and from public transit has decreased significantly. From January to April, the total revenue from these activities is approximately $500,000 below the amount budgeted. However the loss is offset from additional revenue from development activities and water services connections resulting in a net shortfall of $46,511.

The reports said it is anticipated the revenue shortfall from recreation and transit, combined, from May to December will be approximately $1.25 million for a total of $1.75 million for the entire year.

The decision to help its taxpayers by delaying the application of penalties against late property tax payments and metered utility bills will cost the district another $282,000 in forgone interest revenue, if a majority of taxpayers choose to wait until Sept. 30 to pay.

The closure of the casino in Mission is also a factor.

The district receives a share of the profits – budgeted at $600,000 this year – but it is expected that number will only be $128,238, a loss in revenue of $471,762.

The losses described above, plus an additional $16,229 in miscellaneous revenue reductions, means that the District is expecting the total revenue earned from May to December to be approximately $2 million less than budgeted.

Mission has taken some actions to mitigate the losses, laying-off staff from recreation programs that have been suspended and delaying recruitments district-wide has saved approximately $274,000 in wages.

The report said the district has sufficient funds in unappropriated surpluses and reserves to cover the anticipated shortfalls, until the end of 2020.

District staff have also identified a number of capital projects, with a total budget of $6.3 million, scheduled for 2020 that can be deferred until 2021 to allow council to have some financial flexibility should it be required.

The district has not seen a decrease in revenue related to building permits, business licensing, and utility connections so far this year.

Mission Mayor Pam Alexis indicated the district is in a financially strong enough position to withstand the substantial setback caused by the pandemic.

“Certainly there are challenges with respect to transit and gaming and those lost revenue pieces that are missing, like the Mission Leisure Centre, that are going to impact us, no question,” she said.

Gaming losses were a particular concern for Alexis because the district funds community and non-profit groups as well as grant programs out of that fund.

“We don’t know what that fund is going to look like for 2021.”

The deadline for applying for community grants has been delayed.

The full report can be accessed online, and the latest information about the District of Mission’s response to COVID-19 is available at mission.ca/covid-19.

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