Kawartha Lakes wraps up 2016 with $1 million deficit
Council approved funding half of the deficit by increasing the 2017 tax levy. This means property owners will pay approximately $5 more per assessed value of $100,000. The other half of the deficit will be funded through the 2018 tax levy.
The target among both public and private organizations is to be within 1% of budget, either as a surplus or deficit. Over the past 5 years, the City has had surpluses within the 1% standard. In the past, contingency reserves have been used to fund unforeseen needs. This year, the deficit cannot be funded by reserves and staff recommended that Council increase the 2017 tax levy to cover the deficit.
The major factor that created the deficit was the cost of winter control in 2016. This cost varies significantly based on weather. Over the past several years, staff have worked diligently to streamline processes to ensure the level of service requested from Council is delivered and meets the provincial minimum standards. The annual budget provides for approximately 40 'events' or responses to winter conditions, such as snow clearing, sanding, salting and snow removal. On average across all depots, staff recorded 52 events throught the City in 2016, totalling approximately $1,300,000 over budget. Staff will continue to actively investigate alternatives to provide the services in a more cost effective manner and will budget for 50 winter events in the future.
"The current budget base must be right-sized to cover the cost of the existing service levels. We need to either increase tax support or lower service levels," commented Mary-Anne Dempster, Director of Corporate Services.
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