The possibility of a fully attended Soo Greyhounds season is putting dollar signs in the eyes of the city's financial overseers.
As lockdown restrictions are lifted, city treasurer Shelley Schell and her staff are optimistic some major junior hockey action can help staunch some COVID bleeding.
"Community centres, they're opening," says Jacob Bruzas, manager of finance.
"Hopefully full capacity for the Greyhound games is going to help."
On Monday, Bruzas will present third-quarter financial figures to City Council.
Even with GFL Memorial Gardens filled with happy Greyhounds fans, the city's community centres aren't out of the woods yet.
"With the restrictions being lifted, there will also be significant incremental costs incurred for required preventative measures; such as screening costs required at the city’s recreational facilities," Bruzas says.
By his calculation, the deficit for community centres will still be around $1 million at year's end.
Meanwhile, more good news arrived yesterday, this time from Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp.
OLG advised the city that its second-quarter non-tax gaming revenue payment to Sault Ste. Marie for hosting Gateway Casinos will be $327,408, much higher than anyone expected.
The quarterly payment to the city is based on a graduated scale of gaming revenue.
In the first quarter of this year, the city got just $83,611.
"Hopefully, in the last quarter we'll get a little bit more," Schell said, adding: "We might actually be close to breaking even."
Other items of interest from Bruzas' third-quarter report:
- net assessment growth to Sept. 30 was up 0.12 per cent compared to 0.05 per cent in the same quarter last year
- total number of building permits to date has decreased from 1,237 in 2020 to 1,058 this year, a drop of approximately 14.47 per cent
- construction value increased from $67.6 million in 2020 to $162.5 million this year
- city officials are expecting a further increase in permits over the final three months of 2021
- Trunk/Black Road resurfacing project was denied government funding
Monday's City Council meeting will be livestreamed on SooToday starting at 4:30 p.m.
"As of September 30, 2021, it is anticipated that the COVID-19 recovery funding received, combined with the approved use of the tax stabilization reserve (up to $1.9 million) will be sufficient to cover the financial pressures of COVID-19 on the city’s 2021 operating budget," Bruzas says in a draft report prepared for Monday's meeting.
"At the end of the third quarter the 2021 fiscal year, no significant surplus/deficit is predicted to the end of the year."