Essex County Finances Should Be Fine After the COVID-19 Pandemic

AM800-NEWS-ESSEX-CIVIC-CENTRE-MAY2016

The chief administrative officer of Essex County believes the county will be on solid financial ground when it emerges on the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rob Maisonville provided county council with an update Wednesday night on the impact COVID-19 is having on county operations.

According to the report, it's estimated the county could see a deficit between $500,000 and $1-million by the end of the year, but Maisonville says that could be far lower if upper levels of government come through with financial help.

He says the county is sitting on a substantial reserve as well.

"I think the saving grace for us is the strength in the county's financial position. We have a strong reserve balance that can support us. We have zero debt. If we experience a deficit in the $2-million to $4-million range, we have a rate stabilization reserve that can support that," says Maisonville.

He says, for the most part, services provided by the county have remained cost neutral.

"We're trying to nail Jello to the wall in a sense to try to figure out what the cost of this will be at year end. It's been a few months, we are doing some mitigating measures controlling costs that we can. We're trying to look at where we'll sit at the end of the year," says Maisonville.

He says a tax levy is an option, but likely won't be necessary.

"There are mechanisms to have special levies in 2021 should we need it. I don't think we will. We don't see a huge influx of costs for us leading into 2021, at least not at this stage. We'll continue to report to council as we learn more throughout the summer months," says Maisonville.

He adds that the county has taken a number of cost saving measures including putting all new hires and summer student positions on hold and eliminating travel to seminars and conferences for staff.