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St. John’s councillor hosting Q&A on upcoming budget

Coun. Dave Lane will host a live Facebook Q&A on Dec. 3 about the city’s 2021 budget. -TELEGRAM FILE PHOTO
Coun. Dave Lane will host a live Facebook Q&A on Dec. 3 about the city’s 2021 budget. -TELEGRAM FILE PHOTO

Dave Lane has also produced video explainer

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. —

Mayor Danny Breen has called it the toughest budget he’s been involved with since joining city council, and it appears the city is bracing for some tough questions from the public.

Coun. Dave Lane, council finance lead, said on Monday he has produced a video explainer to be posted on the city’s website.

He said the video discusses how council arrived at 2021 budget decisions, provides context for the budget and explains the process that was followed.

Lane will also host a live virtual question-and-answer period on the city’s Facebook page on Thursday, Dec. 3 at 2 p.m.

The city is facing criticism from the public about a couple of items already leaked to media about the upcoming budget, which will be voted on by council on Dec. 7.

Among the controversial proposed budget cuts is a switch to a summertime schedule at Metrobus, and a decrease in daily staffing minimums for firefighters.

The city is facing a deficit for 2020 between $19 million and $20 million, an amount that is expected to be covered by surplus funds of just over $22 million held in reserve. For 2021, the city is facing a $10-million shortfall.

Breen previously told The Telegram the $6.4 million the city received in Safe Restart funds will help to address that shortfall.

But the city still has to reduce expenses for 2021, and to that end, Lane previously said difficult decisions have to be made.

Municipalities are required to have a balanced budget, and are not permitted to borrow funds for operating costs.

Juanita Mercer reports on municipal politics in St. John’s.


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