Dufferin’s finances in great shape

June 23, 2016   ·   0 Comments

The County of Dufferin’s financial situation is in wonderful shape, thanks to strong financial decision-making and the experienced members that serve on County Council.

The financial assets of the county have increased $3.3 million since the 2014 results were posted. In addition, net debt decreased $4.3 million.

The summary package given to council last Thursday highlighted a strong operating surplus of over $2.1 million in 2015. The report also mentioned the strong management of expenses.

Specifically, expenses did increase by 1.6%, but that was $1.1 million under budget. The plan moving forward is for the county to maintain and grow reserves with a focus on prudent planning for future capital projects.

County CAO Sonya Pritchard and Treasurer Alan Selby, asked to comment specifically on certain areas of the budget, gave responses summarized below:

Why would the taxation revenue be so much higher in 2015 vs budget and 2014?     

These are not changes in assessments, but are new assessments, for new properties, added to the Tax Roll during the year. With all the new home building that the County has seen recently, these 2015 Supplementary Taxes amounted to $1.0 million, or double the roughly $500,000 the County had put into its 2015 Budget, based on what Supplementary taxes were in 2014.

Hence the County beat its Tax Budget in 2015 by about $500,000 because of Supplementary Taxes.

What government contributions would the county have received? Specifically, why are we $1.3M over budget and prior year?

The positive variance was coming mostly from Operating-type subsidies ($900,000 was Provincial and $400,000 Federal.)  Items spent upon in 2015 include, the unbudgeted Affordable Housing Program (AHP) subsidies, that were put towards the construction of the Dynes Gray apartments in Shelburne. The Provincial Social and Family Services variance related to higher Ontario Works subsidy, and extra subsidy received to help cover extra costs the County had to bear to deal with errors from the Province’s SAMS computer system, which did not function correctly and resulted in many errors in client assistance cheques issued. Municipalities had to deal with these errors, so the Province issued extra subsidies for the costs incurred by the County for this.

What would be a few of the drivers regarding the transportation savings?

Transportation savings were in Winter Control costs, not for the January to April 2015 period, but for the Nov./Dec. 2015 period, as there was very little snowfall right up to the Christmas break.

What are the three most significant future capital projects that the county might be setting aside funds for?

Dufferin does not really have three large future projects, the County has many road resurfacings, culvert re-builds and bridge rebuilds ahead, and many of these are similar in size and amount, but there are none that stand out.

If there is funding available from the provincial and or federal governments additional projects for social housing would be evaluated.

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