Delta in 'cash ready-position'

Business was up for the City of Delta prior to the pandemic, but it's in sound position.

That’s according to a first quarter financial report by the finance department, which notes the city had a strong start to 2020 in the areas of building permits by construction value and fees from permits and development applications.

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The report notes it is anticipated the financial impact of COVID-19 will be reflected starting in Q2 as Q1 was nearly complete when the pandemic began to impact the economy.

Looking at the period from January 1 to March 31, the report notes building construction values of $123.4 million for the first three months of 2020 had increased by 46 per cent compared to last year’s values of $84.7 million, due mainly to the casino building permit.

Meanwhile, building and sign, plumbing and highway use permit fees of $1.1 million in Q1 2020 increased by 42 per cent compared to last year.

The report also notes that for the first three months of this year development application fees of $89,500 was 57 per cent higher compared to the same time last year at $57,000. A contributing factor to that increase was the submission of select major development applications.

As far as the city’s investment portfolio, as of March 31 it was approximately $234 million.

As of the first quarter in 2020, the annual yield of the city’s short-term and long-term investments exceeded benchmarks.

However, noting that since early March the Bank of Canada rate has been cut several times, the report concludes the forecast is for rates of return to remain at very low levels for a protracted period.

“Having a fairly liquid investment portfolio, being financially healthy and fiscally prudent, along with the Province’s relaxation of legislation to allow municipalities to borrow from reserves in 2020 to meet operating needs, puts Delta in a cash-ready position to respond any further COVID-19 financial implications,” the report states.

Also looking at operating expenditures and revenues which were impacted due to COVID-19, the report notes the reopening of the economy is expected to be slow and uneven.

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