Yorkton Council had a look at the preliminary year end financial numbers for 2018 at its regular meeting Monday.
Audit work on the 2018 year end is still progressing, explained Ashley Stradeski, Director of Finance with the city. With that, however he said the city was not expecting significant changes from this point on in the numbers, and have come to the preliminary estimate of our 2018 year-end departmental surplus / deficits,
The key number showed the City of Yorkton had a small surplus in 2018, at $139,832.
Stradeski said, as in previous years, Administration recommended transferring 50 per cent of the surplus to reserves on a per department basis depending on whether each department had net departmental savings.
Further it was recommended withdrawing funds from reserves to cover departmental deficits.
By continuing with this strategy, we encourage accountability of all departments and avoid the typical “use it or lose it” philosophy in government spending, said Stradeski.
As the financial audit is not yet finalized; these are preliminary numbers. Administration expected to have a final report brought to Council in the coming meetings, with a recommendation to transfer funds to the rainy day reserve once the audit is finalized.
That said, based on the preliminary numbers had Administration recommending $140,000 would go to the Rainy Day Fund.
There were numerous variances, but overall revenue was above budget due to interest on accounts and penalties on taxes, and some departmental expenses were higher than budget, resulting in the net surplus, explained Stradeski.
Of particular note Tax & Grant Revenue saw a $246,515 surplus .
Stradeski said, tax collected was higher than anticipated, with some growth with new properties, as well as fewer than budgeted losses.
In addition, excess interest and penalties income of $511,034 also occurred with tax penalties higher than budget significantly, as well as interest income.
On the negative side Crown surcharges were $435,718 less than budgeted with the SaskEnergy grant not taking effect until April 1, thus the City missed out on the highest usage months of January, February and March, explained Stradeski.
Protective Services saw $80,058) deficit, and Steadeski said it was recommended to withdraw $30,000 from fire reserves to offset some of that deficit.
The deficit included overtime incurred by fire fighters being far higher than budgeted, however retroactive pay on union agreement less than budget which somewhat offset this, said Stradeski.
Maintenance costs at the fire hall due to boiler issues also exceeded budget
RCMP costs were under budget, with remaining to reserves to cover future equipment upgrades
In the Community Development, Parks & Recreation department there was a modest deficit of $11,643, but it was still recommended there be a deposit $20,000 to outdoor recreation reserves.
Parks was under budget by just over $41,000 due to staffing efficiencies
Deer Park had lower green fees and revenue of $32,000 and increased club house costs of $5,000, resulting in it being over budget
The Water Park and Gallagher Centre had a $171,282 deficit, and Stradeski said it was recommended the City withdraw $75,000 from reserves to offset part of that.
The water park revenues were $30,000 less than budget
Hockey rentals were undercut by ice prices in Melville this year, resulting in a deficit to budget on revenues for approximately $15,000
Far fewer Christmas time rentals compared to the past, leaving revenues short $36,000 for events
Gallagher maintenance expenses due to ice plant costs as well as emergency fire suppression repairs
Additional costs incurred were due to unexpected maintenance items, some relating to ice plant issues, others with furnace and other maintenance.
In the Engineering and Asset Management area there was $112,650 surplus, and it was recommended a deposit $50,000 into reserves be made.
The project manager position unfilled for half the year, resulting in savings in salaries for $50,000
In addition, the snow removal contract for city hall was not fulfilled, which resulted in no costs.