Quesnel Mayor Bob Simpson says there has been no mention of help for local governments at all by the Federal Government during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There has been no peep out of the Federal Government about recognizing that municipalities are losing revenue, municipalities don’t have enough infrastructure dollars coming from the federal government, we’re also laying off staff but none of those staff are eligible for any of the programs that are being made available for corporate entities.”
Simpson says local governments deliver services to the vast majority of Canadians and somehow they are not on the radar…
“We lost 400 thousand dollars in direct taxation from the Tolko mill closure, we’re losing potentially around half a million dollars this year from casino revenue, we don’t get the transit revenue, the airport is probably going to be in a deficit situation this year because Central Mountain Air isn’t flying, so there is a lot of pressure on that side of things.”
Simpson says while the province has at least given them some flexibility on taxes, and indicated they understand that they’ve got some pain that needs to be addressed at some point, there has been nothing from the Federal Government.
Simpson says they are working to get that message across to Ottawa…
“We’ve got a conference call with the MP on Monday, we’ve certainly been talking with the Union of BC Municipalities and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities has issued two or three major documents to the Federal Government, and they really capture where we’ve got some very real vulnerabilities.”
Simpson says they will also be addressing some of these financial concerns at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting.