COVID-19 TOOLS: Financial Forecasts

There’s been lots of conversation and news coverage about the financial impact that COVID-19 will have on Canadian Municipalities. Revenue Losses from services that need to continue (like Transit), or from interest earnings from deferred payments (like deferred Property Tax or Utility Payments) are going to hurt the top line numbers. Expense Increases from the response to the pandemic (like from redeployed civic staff or an increase in protective services) will just make the bottom line tougher to balance.

Not all Municipalities are in the same circumstance — sometimes it goes the other way. I’ve talked to some across the country who are seeing a decrease in their overall expenses (travel, conferences, etc), but no immediate increase on the expense side. I’m not sure how long that will last for, but that’s their immediate experience.

To help one of my colleagues with the financial planning in their muncipality, we created a ‘proof of concept’ COVID Scenario Planning Tool that they then used to build out their own understanding of financial impacts. We’ve posted it here for folks to use as a guide for their own planning. This is a Proof of Concept, and theres lots more detail that could be built in (like variable financial impacts, variable durations, etc), but that detail is best left to the folks who know their operations (and their responses) the best.

The Google Sheets file is linked here and is pretty rudimentary with basic instructions on the first sheet. Please feel free to download and apply whatever concepts you find helpful to your own municipal situation.

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