Surplus expected; should cover fire hall overrun

Parksville could be almost a million dollars under budget this year, but that’s a regular part of a long-term budgeting process, points out director of finance Lucky Butterworth.

He gave council a budget variance report at their last meeting, providing an interim snap shot of the city’s finances as they head into the current year’s budget deliberations.

The city works on a five year budget process and aims to keep a minimum of a one million dollar accumulated surplus for emergencies and big projects from year to year.

While the surplus had dropped as low $475,000 in 2009, it was at $2.8 million at the start of 2011, to which this year’s surplus will be added.

Butterworth pointed out the current work on McMillan Street is almost $3 million, so a one million dollar surplus is not a lot, in comparison.

The surplus is included in their calculations as they update the budget for the next five years.

The savings include RCMP costs, which are expected to be around $400,000 under their $2.1 million budget, though Butterworth stresses that none of the numbers are final.

The engineering department is about $200,000 under budget, partly due to staff vacancies and some projects that haven’t started and will be forwarded to next year.

Council and administration costs are around $150,000 under budget, including council being short a councillor last year and several projects coming in under budget.

While things look good overall, several items where over budget, including a surprise $200,000 overrun on the fire hall renovation.

“That bothered me,” he said, explaining the update on the fire hall at the end of June actually showed the project was under budget. Butterworth said he still hasn’t received the reconciliation from the project manager explaining what happened. Director of engineering and operations Robert Harary said they were surprised by the fire hall numbers and though there were “eight or 10 late big items,” such as seismic and electrical work, they are still looking into it.

The water, sewer and Englishman River water projects are all separate funds which Butterworth didn’t get into much, but said they are looking like they will be pretty much on budget.

The water and sewer revenues were down more than $200,000, or about six per cent, but mayor Chris Burger pointed out that is actually a good thing since it means water consumption is down.


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