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Wellesley finances in good shape despite coronavirus woes

As with most municipalities, Wellesley has seen its finances take a hit due to the coronavirus pandemic. Still, the books are relatively healthy at this point, reports the township’s treasurer.

Theresa Bisch this week provided council with an update that shows revenues are about four percentage points behind where they were at the end of July last year – 79 per cent of project annual income versus 83 per cent in 2019 – while expenses were two percentage points lower – 61 per cent of the budgeted amount, as opposed to 63 per cent at that point last year.

Overall, the township is running a deficit that currently sits at $24,405, she reported Tuesday night as councillors met by video conference.

“The Township of Wellesley is well positioned to sustain the COVID-19 service disruption from a cash flow perspective. This is due to being in a strong cash position entering the pandemic, with a significant amount of cash in the general bank account, held in various capital reserves,” said Bisch in her report.

Tax revenues remain relatively robust despite council’s decision to waive penalties and interest on property taxes for the months of April, May and June.

Mayor Joe Nowak said he thought the situation would be a lot worse and congratulated staff on a job well done for doing everything they could to mitigate some of the loss in revenue. He noted  there is still time in the year and they need to do accounting for those months to be completely accurate.

Last week’s announcement of federal and provincial funding for municipalities dealing with the COVID-19 crisis is expected to help relieve some of the stress. Wellesley is slated to receive $204,100 under a per-capita formula administered by the province.

Coun. Carl Smit asked how that funding would help the township to “be solid” in the aftermath of the lockdown.

Bisch noted that she does not yet if there will be restrictions on how the money can be used, she believes “it’s going to relieve most of the pressures” on the township’s financial position.

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