Reader Doubts City Budget Surplus On The Way


Frequent Bulldog contributor Sheridan has real doubts about the city returning to budget surplus this year.

To read the release that makes the city forecast, click here.

Sheridan is below:

Again, one needs to see the context of these numbers.

For example, the $1.65-million surplus in rate-supported services (water and sewer) as of June 30, 2016 is a big change from the final 2015 figure. Recall that it was reported that there was a $15.9-million shortfall in water and waste-water operations in 2015; the water deficit was about double what was expected, which city staff blamed on low consumption levels. Of course, water-rate increases are not simply held to Mayor Jim Watson’s two per-cent rate increase rule. Still, how did such a big change occur in this one financial area alone?

I believe City Manager Steve Kanellakos said earlier this year that taxes would need to be increased by eight per cent, or its equivalent cut in services/staff (or a combination), in order to maintain the current level of city services. I am not aware of any great change, apart from cutting some managers and reorganizing the managerial portfolios, that would account for a substantial financial change to the city budget.

What part have city reserves played in this surplus? Borrowed money? Delayed or deferred projects? Cuts to service? Etc.

Likewise, how healthy is the snow budget for this winter?

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