Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - 11:15 AM

CSJ Supports FCM Call for Federal Funding Package

The City of St. John’s supports the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) in a request to the Canadian Government for emergency operating funding for the nation’s municipalities. FCM is proposing $10 billion in emergency operating funding for municipalities nationwide to keep essential services running and Canadians safe and supported.

“With no end date in sight and an anticipated long recovery process, cities across the country including St. John’s will face increased budgetary pressures as individuals and businesses struggle to pay municipal taxes and fees,” explained Mayor Breen. “It is difficult to assess the full impact of the pandemic on our city and support from the federal government would go a long way in helping municipalities meet their financial obligations and maintain the essential services that residents rely on.”

In St. John’s property and water taxes account for 88% of our own source revenues.

Over the past five years, the City has been implementing a strategic plan to be more fiscally resilient, including:

  • maintaining small, annual operating surpluses, enabling us to pay down long-term pension debt
  • conducting a program review in 2016 which reduced our budget by $16M
  • initiating an aggressive continuous improvement plan resulting in operational efficiencies
  • negotiating a recent collective agreement for the next four years with a 0% increase in payroll
  • maintaining a positive credit rating resulting in borrowing at our lowest costs ever 

“Despite improvements to operations and a focus on solid financial management, the economic impacts of this unanticipated pandemic have yet to be fully realized,” explained Councillor Dave Lane, Council lead for Finance and Administration. "Businesses and residents are seeking support from their municipality to manage the financial and economic implications of this global health crisis."

Council and City Administration have been meeting with the local business community and are listening to their concerns about the local economy and pandemic recovery.

“The City is currently exploring ways we can support our business community that will bolster the economy and support all our residents - today and into the future - from deferring some capital projects to additional relief on taxation interest and waiving of fees,” said Mayor Breen. “Resources from the federal government, as outlined in the plan from FCM, would significantly ease the pressures we are feeling to balance our budget, support the local economy and maintain key services.”