The City of Prince George continues to make some tough decisions as it deals with the financial impact of COVID-19.

The city’s Community Services and Public Safety Department stated its been down to approximately 130 staff due to facility closures, a reduction of over 50% prior to the pandemic.

Some significant positions have been eliminated including CN Centre Manager Glen Mikkelsen.

In addition, staff at RMCA, Elks Centre and PG Conference and Civic Centre have either been laid off or let go.

City Councillor Garth Frizzell who also sits on the Finance Committee spoke with MyPGNow.com.

“Across the board, it’s been a really substantial hit as these are talented people who are doing really important work and it’s really gutting to have to do this. The problem is nobody really knows when the pandemic is going to be over.”

Frizzell added nobody on council is interested in raising taxes by 7.5% next year so some tough decisions on staff needed to be made.

“Cities can’t borrow money when it comes to operations when the bills come due you have to have the right amount of money to pay for them and nobody around that tables wants to have to raise taxes 7.5% next year, it’s not going to happen.”

“This is the last thing any council ever wants to do especially with the talented people that we have but these are the times we are in now and they will pass it’s just a question of when.”

When asked if there would be a timeline on when certain positions can be rehired or re-offered, Frizzell stated it all depends on the economic conditions, something the city monitors on a daily basis.

“It was really heartening to hear the Consumer Price Index had bounced back from a negative number to plus point-seven, it’s nowhere near the two target they try and get to but we all hope for that and we’re eager to get it all started again.”

The city announced at Monday’s council meeting that the RMCA, Elks Centre and CN Centre will remain closed for the remainder of 2020.

Starting August 17th, the Kin Centres will re-open for use.