Po­lice bud­get sav­ings put into re­serves

It’s been a good bud­get year: John Mack­lem

The Lindsay Post - - FRONT PAGE - LISA GERVAIS Lind­say Post Re­porter

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."

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