The City of Lethbridge finished 2016 on solid financial footing, according to an unaudited Year End Financial Report presented on March 20, 2017 to City Council members meeting as Finance Committee.
The City finished 2016 with a $2.1-million corporate surplus in tax-funded operations while utility-funded operations finished the year with a small overall surplus. Lower than expected fuel costs and higher than expected growth in the residential and commercial tax base contributed to the corporate surplus.
Although snow clearing operations ended the year with a surplus of $1 million, this area has an accumulated overall deficit of $4.6 million since 2008. In accordance with City Council policy, snow clearing surpluses and deficits flow into and out of the Municipal Revenue Stabilization Reserve (MRSR). Meanwhile, spending on community lighting was about $626,000 under budget due mainly to savings in electric consumption charges realized due to the conversion of the city’s 13,000 street lights to energy-efficient LED lights. This surplus will flow into the Community Lighting Reserve.
“We continue to manage public funds responsibly, while maintaining services to the community within budgets set by City Council,” said Mayor Chris Spearman. “The majority of the savings were realized from energy-efficient street lighting and lower than budgeted fuel prices.”
The City’s various service units finished the year with a $626,000 surplus due in part to higher net revenues at the ENMAX Centre as well as lower than expected wage expenses in Fire and Emergency Services and the Public Safety Communications Centre.
The total surplus represents less than one per cent of the City’s annual operating budget.