Town posts $1.3m surplus in 2018

August 15, 2019   ·   0 Comments

By Mike Baker

A seemingly recurring nice-to-have problem found its way before Orangeville Council this week after Town Treasurer Nandini Syed confirmed the municipality held a significant surplus of $1.35 million left over from its 2018 budget.

This marked the third successive year the Town posted a surplus, having managed the feat in both 2016 and 2017. It should be noted that all three surpluses were posted under the previous term of Council – any possible surplus realized from the 2019 budget, approved by the current Council in January, won’t be known until next year. 

In her recommendation to Council, Ms. Syed noted a large portion of the surplus could be attributed to a one-time provincial grant designed to help municipalities look into future efficiencies for service delivery in their respective community. 

With discussions surrounding the Town’s 2020 budget expected to get underway in just a couple of months, it was suggested that Council place the surplus $1.35 million into reserves, with a view to potentially reallocating it in the near future. However, Coun. Todd Taylor did not like that idea.

“What we’ve been told as a Council is that our reserve levels are acceptable for a town of our size. Why would we put this to reserves when we’re carrying an expense – that being debt,” he reasoned. “If our reserves are already at a good level, I would prefer to put this on debt. That would save our tax base some monies.”

He added that given interest rates are so low right now, some might think it’s not a significant amount of money to save, but $1.3 million, at an interest rate of three to five percent would save between $39,000 and $65,000. “That’s significant in my mind. Why wouldn’t we put that towards debt?”

Ms. Syed noted the idea was to simply place the money into reserves temporarily until such a time Council as a whole decided where it would be most prudent to allocate it. 

While there was no mention of potentially using the money to offset property taxes, Ms. Syed noted that was largely due to the fact the one-time provincial grant was not meant for tax mitigation.

“It’s explicitly meant to look into future efficiency of service delivery,” Ms. Syed noted.

In the end, Council agreed to temporarily place the money in its reserves, with a view to potentially reallocating it during the 2020 budget deliberations. Orangeville Council is slated to kick off its budget talks on Oct. 29.


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