A gloomy city staff report says, depending on how long the COVID lockdown lasts and how quickly or slowly the recovery will be, Hamilton could be looking at a $120 Million hit to its bottom line. Among its recommendations the report calls for the city ask Ottawa for an additional $32.6 Million in Gas Tax funding. That money would be used to finish off any capital projects that are underway and whatever is left to go into a special COVID emergency fund. The city currently has about $29 Million unspent on various capital projects, and it is expected that council will be looking at that list to determine which projects can be deferred or cancelled. But the real solution the report says is to petition senior governments, particularly Ottawa for an emergency bailout. The report concludes; “without emergency funding, the City would be left with tough decisions between cutting services, deferring critical infrastructure projects during economic recovery, or reliance on debt financing that would result in property tax increases for households that are amid an economic downturn.”
The full report is available here.