May 6, 2020
Dear Coquitlam residents and businesses:
We would like to sincerely thank those in the community who continue to physically distance, support others or work on the front lines. You are making a difference in our collective recovery.
The health crisis has forced all of us to rethink our priorities and in many cases, make hard decisions. That’s true for the City as well. While years of prudent fiscal management have left us on solid financial ground – with emergency funds available for times just like these – there’s no escaping the fact that we cannot currently rely on many of our typical revenue streams, including development, casino contributions and recreation fees.
The pandemic has also revealed many lessons, and one is that our typical cautious and methodical approach will be more important than ever as we face the challenges to come. With the prospect of a 2020 operating budget deficit of $2.5 to $6.5 million, we have already had to make a number of difficult decisions, including temporary staff layoffs. It is in consideration of that deficit that we’ve also opted to maintain the modest property tax increase previously approved for our 2020 budget.
These decisions have not been easy, but we know they will help Coquitlam remain financially resilient and flexible to be able to meet the changing needs of our community, as well as support our recovery in the coming months.
The current situation has led us to review our role as a local government and the types of services and support we provide. It’s already apparent that it will be a long time before some Coquitlam residents, businesses and organizations return to their pre-pandemic state. Some never will.
The federal and provincial governments are working hard to respond to the impacts of this pandemic, and have launched a number of financial support programs to assist various sectors. Over the past several weeks, the City also has been looking ahead to what we can do to support the community’s recovery, not only right now but in the months and years to come. We want to ensure that our efforts provide targeted and meaningful support to those most in need.
For the short-term, we’re offering some financial relief to property owners by delaying utility and tax payment deadlines, among other measures. For the long-term, we’re investigating how best to support a broad cross-section of the community with a preliminary $5-million investment in our new Community Support and Recovery Plan (CSRP).
Watch for more news in the coming month about how Coquitlam’s CSRP could help your family, business or organization. And visit coquitlam.ca/covid19 and our social media channels to stay up-to-date on Coquitlam’s pandemic response and issues that affect us all.
Mayor Richard Stewart
Councillor Brent Asmundson | Councillor Craig Hodge | Councillor Steve Kim
Councillor Trish Mandewo | Councillor Dennis Marsden | Councillor Teri Towner
Councillor Chris Wilson | Councillor Bonita Zarrillo