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Many factors play into city’s surplus position in 2020


A General Fund surplus of $936,873 highlighted the presentation of unaudited financial statements covering operations in 2020 at the regular city council meeting, Mar. 8.
The presentation also included a Utility Fund surplus totalling $274,410.51
“There is a report that did a detailed analysis of all the variances both in the general fund and the utility done by our Director of Finance (Scott Carr),” Mayor Allen Dowhan said in presenting the financial statements.
“And he’s done a very comprehensive and excellent work on it and I thank the director of finance for all his work
On the General Fund side there were several factors which resulted in a surplus including:
• Federal Restart funding received that was not part of budget - $501,000;
• Travel and conference expenses under budget due to pandemic and a shift to virtual conferences - $56,449;
• Policing contract under budget due to less officers than what was authorized and budgeted - $297,691;
• Bylaw Enforcement was under budget due to an unbudgeted position vacancy - $23,892;
• Storm sewer maintenance work was under budget as some work was not completed as planned - $38,902;
• Equipment costs were under budget due in part to low fuel prices - $25,594;
• Communities in Bloom under budget due to less than expected bloom crew expenses - $26,201;
• Economic Development and Tourism under budget due to challenges in completing projects - $68,080; and
• General operating efficiencies - $7,815.33
There were also several factors which came into play which decreased the surplus including:
• Taxes added revenue under budget due to a delay on assessing a property - ($65,453); and
• Land sale revenue less than budgeted due to a loss on tax sale properties - ($43,298).
In his analysis, Carr indicated the COVID-19 pandemic was definitely a factor in the financial results for the City, but was not the biggest factor impacting the budget.
“The City did experience some additional pandemic costs, but also some pandemic savings on items such as travel,” Carr wrote in his report to council.
“While the pandemic did cause variances in our financial results, a Federal Restart grant and RCMP officer vacancies account for 85 per cent of the 2020 surplus.”
Utility Fund
Highlights of the 2020 Utility Fund variances which added to the surplus included:
• Custom work profit greater than budgeted due to higher volume of work - $25,194;
• Water main repairs under budget due to a less than average number of breaks - $53,442;
• Lift station operating costs less than budget due to new and more efficient grinder - $16,518;
• Infrastructure capital under budget as all projects were completed under budget - $125,721;
• Brown Avenue Reservoir security fence less than budgeted $27,251; and
• Utility operating efficiencies - $48,814.51.
One variance which decreased the surplus was water treatment plant expenses $22,530 higher than budgeted for chemical costs and wages.
“The majority of this surplus is due to our underground infrastructure work being less than budgeted,” Carr wrote in his analysis.
“Favourable weather played a large role in this variance. In addition, the required scope of some projects were less than budgeted.”