Yellowknife expects 2020 surplus to be $3.5M under budget

The City of Yellowknife’s annual surplus is expected to be at least $3.5 million lower than budgeted this year, largely due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

According to the city’s latest forecast and variance report – which details whether revenues and expenses could be over or under budget – Yellowknife’s surplus for 2020 is expected to be $3,560,000 less than planned.

City administrator Sheila Bassi-Kellett said that means the city is depleting its bank account and living off savings, which it can only do for so long. 


“This council knows only too well it’s been a rollercoaster of a year,” she said during a review of the report on Monday.

Bassi-Kellett said, however, the city is expecting some relief from the territorial government. 

Of the surplus gap, $2,042,000 is attributed to the Covid-19 pandemic – which resulted in the closure of city facilities, among other measures, cutting off sources of revenues like user fees.

Meanwhile, delays to a number of capital projects will see a range of work pushed to 2021.

Because of the way capital projects are reflected in the city’s accounts, moving that work back a year explains the remaining $1,518,000 in this year’s surplus gap. 


Bassi-Kellett said there are a “myriad of reasons” for the delays, including some cases where nobody bid on projects.

Asked if the city will have to reset its five-year capital plan, Bassi-Kellett said that will depend on the capacity of contractors and consultants to take on a larger number of projects in fewer years.

“These projects weigh heavily on our administrative teams,” she said, adding that staff will try to streamline projects that carry over into 2021.