Police budget savings put into reserves
It’s been a good budget year: John Macklem
The Ontario Provincial Police ( OPP) and City of Kawartha Lakes Police Service ( CKLPS) underspent their 2012 budgets by more than $1 million.
And while it can be argued that the surpluses can be applied to future deficits to offset tax rate fluctuations, some would argue the police should have done a better job of budgeting so taxpayers didn't have to pay so much this time around.
City treasurer Carolyn Daynes presented the 2012 audited financial statements and 2012 surplus disposition report to the Tuesday, June 11 meeting, providing overall good news to city residents.
She said there was a general tax rated surplus of $ 1,298,694 being allocated to the general contingency reserve.
So, the OPP surplus of $630,186 will be transferred to its reser ves and the CKLPS's $416,551 surplus to its reserve.
"This can be used for any deficits in the future so the tax rate will not have large fluctuations in these areas," Daynes told The Post on Wednesday.
Other surpluses included: Fire Area B ($25,047); Lindsay Parks ($ 1,097); streetlight ($ 112,451) and water and sewer ($ 2,000). All will be transferred back into their reserves.
Ward 6 Coun. Doug Elmslie queried the budget process of the CKLPS. He said the city asked the police services board last November to hold the line at a 2.5% tax increase and was told that wouldn't be possible and yet there is a $416,551 surplus.
He said the city raising taxes, only to have the service come in with a $ 416,551 surplus, is not the way to do business.
He queried board members, Mayor Ric McGee and Coun. Gord James, on the process and McGee said the board had been addressing budgeting issues and seeking to make improvements, for the past six months or so.
Daynes attributed the surpluses to the wage area of both police services.
Daynes noted that 2012 was a big year for the city in terms of spending money on big projects, such as the Northwest trunk, the Fenelon Falls arena and Lindsay Recreational Complex upgrade. She said cash in teh bank was reduced by about $ 24 million but will be recovered when the funding is received for these projects.
"I think it is worth mentioning the Eastern Ontario report ' Facing our Fiscal Challenges' and the fact that the City of Kawartha Lakes is not alone in increasing debt and reliance on residential taxation," Daynes said.
"All indicators that I talked about seem to indicate that the city is showing low risk with regards to financial health."
Budget advisory committee chairman John Macklem told The Post it had been a good budget year. However, he said the cost of water and sewer remains as the city's "achilles heel."
"We, as a municipality, just want to ensure we do the best job we can with the money we raise. But due to our physical size and geography and the fact we have only 35,000 households means we cannot maintain all of our roads, bridges, social ser vices and water systems. We can only continue to lobby our other levels of government."