Deficit shrinks by half-million

Christine Wood/Staff Writer / Staff writer
February 22, 2013 01:00 AM

The District of Sechelt is now reporting a deficit of $481,093 for 2012, down considerably from the $960,000 deficit projected by interim chief financial officer Tim Anderson in December.

"In December I reported to you that we were experiencing cost overruns in certain areas that were going to amount to close to $1 million, and I wasn't sure at that time whether there were any mitigating factors," Anderson told councillors at their Feb. 13 committee of the whole meeting. "I just want to report at this point there are mitigating [factors]. There's under expenditures in other areas that makes it look like our deficit will in fact be just slightly under $500,000."

Anderson presented the budgeted versus actual year-end operating fund statement that showed major cost overruns relating to the golf course takeover, infrastructure maintenance and general government operations.

The District spent $400,834 more than budgeted for the golf course in 2012, $339,791 more than budgeted for infrastructure maintenance and $63,460 more for general government operations. The statement also showed the solid waste management budget came in $27,392 over budget in 2012.

The unbudgeted expenditures were offset by some savings realized by the District in 2012.

The comparative financial statement showed $102,964 was saved in the protective services budget, $127,824 was saved in property management and $54,593 was saved in community and development services.

A total of $83,952 of savings was also found in the sanitary sewer operations, parks and library, arts and culture budgets.

But even with all the savings, $481,093 more than budgeted was spent in 2012.

Anderson noted the money will have to come from surpluses, as the District cannot carry a deficit.

"The balance of our unallocated operating surplus fund after this offset is now predicted to be $3.1 million as at Dec. 31, 2012," Anderson reported.

Sechelt Mayor John Hen-derson said the change in numbers from December until now is understandable.

"It's always an awkward thing to deal with preliminary information," he said. "We didn't know in December. [Anderson] was trying to give council, I guess, a head's up that this was the magnitude on those four items and now he's giving us a more global picture as the year end is getting close to being finished."

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