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City projects budget surplus of $4.4 million for 2018

Almost double last year's budget surplus
20160201 Guelph City Hall Sign KA

The city is expecting to a budget surplus of $4.36 million by year’s end.

A variance report heading to city council says the tax-supported operating budget is projected to be $1.41 million positive variance while the non-tax supported budget is looking at a $2.93 million positive variance.

Those figures are based on fiscal actuals as of September and could change over the final quarter.

The big savings come from wastewater management ($1.4 million), taxation ($1.3 million) and Environmental Services ($800,000).

Staff is recommending that $400,000 of the savings in Environmental Services be placed in a special reserve to help offset any future fluctuations in commodity prices of recyclables.

Unfilled staff vacancies, increased development, fuel costs, more water use are just some of the factors listed as contributing to the projected positive variance.

On the downside, Guelph Transit is projecting an unfavourable variance of $278,000 due to lower revenues from cash and ticket sales and increased overtime costs.

The city budget surplus for 2017 was $2.3 million.

Other year-end favourable revenue variances are projected for:

  • By-law due to increased animal tags and parking fine enforcement revenue;
  • Police are experiencing higher than anticipated special duty, record checks and alarm fee revenue;
  • Environmental Services was successful in increasing the Stewardship Ontario grant revenues for the blue box program because of better diversion rates;
  • Water and Wastewater Services due to higher billable consumption revenue;
  • Stormwater Services due to an increase in impervious area billable units;
  • City taxation due to increased supplementary revenue;
  • Investment and dividend revenues are projecting favourable due to Guelph Junction Railway declaring a dividend to the City of $100,000 that was not anticipated and the increasing Bank of Canada interest rates which are improving the City’s cash and investment portfolio returns.

Year-end unfavourable revenue variances are projected for:

  • Environmental Services recyclable revenue is trending below budget due to international trade policies banning paper products in certain markets;
  • Culture, Tourism and Community Investment have experienced lower grants and sponsorships than planned;
  • Engineering and Transportation Services are projecting parking revenue shortfalls resulting from the longer than anticipated closure of the West Parkade, and lower subdivision revenue.