The Town of Collingwood will carry a significant surplus into 2018. The Treasurer’s 3rd Quarter variance report projects there will be a surplus at year end of approximately $1.7 million.
Mayor Sandra Cooper, commenting on The Beach Breakfast on 97.7 The Beach on Tuesday morning, December 19th, said she is looking forward to working with the final budget numbers but is happy knowing the Town has a surplus to start the new year.
“It’s a good news story. We’re heading in the right direction. We need to have a more thorough report on that, and it will be coming. It’s budget time. I look forward to a presentation by the treasurer to all of council.
Cooper said the numbers look good as 2017 draws to a close, however a monster snow storm could play havoc with the final figures.
“Snow removal is an area that could be costly or not. Clearing off the main street or taking snow from parking lots is an added cost and an unknown at this time.”
In an email exchange with collingwoodliving.com, the mayor said an overnight snow removal operation in downtown Collingwood can cost up to $20,000.00.
While it is good news to have a surplus, the amount of the surplus is a concern.
—Deputy Mayor Brian Saunderson–
Deputy Mayor Brian Saunderson says while at first glance the numbers look good, council needs to dig deeper to better understand the situation at hand.
“My understanding is that a significant portion of the surplus is the result of municipal assessment increases and new properties coming online (Collingwood had a record year for building permits in 2016) which is difficult to estimate. However, Council will need to drill down and understand all the reasons for the surplus to be sure that our budgeting processes are tight and based on accurate numbers and assumptions moving forward.
At the Council meeting last night (Monday December 28, 2017), I asked staff to look at ways to utilize the surplus to offset or reduce the tax levy in 2018. In my opinion, the surplus funds were collected from our residents as taxes in 2017 and it makes sense that a large portion of the surplus should be credited towards the 2018 budget to reduce the 2018 tax burden for our residents.”