City tries to address massive budget deficit  

An undated file photo of Kingston City Hall

Kingston Council has approved several changes to its 2020 budget in an effort to reduce the projected $4 million deficit expected by the end of August.

A loss of revenue and increased costs from COVID-19 has meant a massive hole in the municipal budget this yesr and City staff continue to look for savings, with some measures approved at a special council meeting on Wednesday night. 

Based on recommendations from Chief Administrative Officer Lanie Hurdle, Council voted to defer roughly $15 million in capital projects until next year and beyond, including $2.4 million for work on the Confederation Basin breakwater, $2.4 million for work toward the Belle Park master plan and $700,000 for the planned creation of new parks. At this point, the Confederation Basin and Belle Park would go ahead in 2021. 

Council also voted to shift some reserve funds and also put off upgrades to trailway and pathway lighting, while bus replacements for Kingston Transit have also been deferred. 

Councillors also unanimously passed a motion to eliminate a scheduled cost of living increase they were scheduled to get next year. 

The 2021 budget is expected to be delivered later than normal as well, as council approved a delay for final budget discussions until the end of March 2021.