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COVID-19: Council endorses recovery plan; most City construction proceeds to provide economic stimulus, sweeping program continues

For immediate release: April 27, 2020 - 8:08pm

City Council has endorsed a plan to maintain core services while responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We will be using a combination of spending reductions and utilization of the City’s stabilization reserves to offset a significant portion of the deficit” says City Manager Jeff Jorgenson. “The strategy does not rely on a further tax increase to address this deficit. We will continue discussions with other orders of government on possible assistance.”

If there is a remaining deficit that is not covered by relief packages, the City will consider making adjustments to the 2021 operating and capital budgets.

One key service that will be delivered in typical fashion is the street sweeping program. This year, due to a late start to the program because of a late spring melt and different operating processes due to COVID-19, the program will take a little longer – into July to finish rather than the usual June end date.

Additionally, the 2020 budgeted construction projects will go forward this year.

However, most water projects with lead line replacements will be deferred until later this year or to 2021 says Terry Schmidt, General Manager, Transportation and Construction.

“We will take a look later this summer to see how people may be adjusting to the pandemic, and make a determination of whether it makes sense to proceed with the lead line replacement program,” Schmidt says. “If it’s not possible, we will defer until next year.”

Council supported the overall recommendation to continue with budgeted construction projects for the 2020 season.

“We need to keep City assets in shape,” says Mayor Charlie Clark. “We’re looking at some $390 million in financial activity to keep the economy going and businesses being able to hire people.”

In compliance of the Public Health Order, the City continues to work with its partners in the construction industry to ensure appropriate physical distancing and other appropriate safety measures are in place at such work sites.