MH expects surplus of $425,000
By Chad Ingram
Published Dec. 15, 2016
Minden Hills township is anticipating a surplus of approximately $425,000 for 2016.
Factors such as weather – the roads department is estimating a surplus for the year of more than $250,000 – and unanticipated revenues led to the surplus.
Councilor Pam Sayne wanted to know what percentage of the overall tax levy the year-end result was off by, saying it’s her understanding a healthy margin of error is three per cent or less.
Treasurer/CAO Lorrie Blanchard said the anticipated surplus would represent about a seven per cent deviation.
“Maybe we can be a little more accurate,” said Sayne, adding she didn’t want to see the township taking more than required from taxpayers.
“You do your best on estimates,” Blanchard said, adding that each department head is given their department’s actuals for the past few years as they draft their departmental budgets. “Revenue’s always hard to predict.”
Council recently voted to award the contract for the design and construction of a new fire hall along Highway 35 to Huntsville’s Greystone Construction. The contract is for $1.9 million. With the $1.2 million in the township’s capital reserves and drawing on some other reserve funds, there will be about a $540,000 shortfall on the project.
“If we come in somewhere around this [estimated surplus] number, we will be well on our way to being able to fund this,” said Blanchard, meaning the township would not have to rely on a loan to fill the funding gap. “I’d much rather not have to go out to debenture.”
Reeve Brent Devolin said when it comes time for the township to embark on a multi-million-dollar renovation of the arena and community centre, the municipality will be looking at a bank loan.
“My hope was we wouldn’t have to debenture on both [projects],” Devolin said. “You don’t want to get more from the taxpayers than you need to, but we have known there have been some big ticket items coming.”
The township also learned that it will receive about $160,000 more from the Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund in 2017 than it did for 2016, bringing that total to approximately $1.6 million.
The OMPF provides equalization funding to municipalities and Minden Hills will be getting a rural community grant, as well as northern and rural fiscal circumstance grant.