(Cochrane, AB) – The quarter three financial reports were presented to Council last evening, at the Committee of the Whole meeting. The results reflect that 60% of budgeted operational costs have been incurred as of September 30th, with a projected surplus of $2.765M.
The projected surplus reflects higher than anticipated revenues, as well as lower than anticipated spending.
“This is a good news story for our community as it truly reflects how our organization is being a financial steward with municipal tax dollars,” said Katherine Van Keimpema, Executive Director of Corporate Services, Town of Cochrane. “Through the hard work of our staff, the growth of our community, and the strong provincial economy, we are seeing an increase in revenues. And by continually looking for opportunities to be more efficient in our spending, we are seeing a decrease in overall operating expenses.”
The additional projected revenue includes:
Franchise fees & other general revenue
Ranchehouse rental fees
Tax certificate fees
These revenues reflect the strong growth in the local and provincial economy, as Cochrane saw a significant investment in housing improvements and new housing developments. This is reflected in the permit fees, tax certificate fees, and supplemental fees. The higher than projected Ranchehouse revenue fees represent a strong rebound in the rental from the event space. The decrease in fines revenue is due to the Province retaining a larger portion of fines than in previous years.
Expenditures anticipated to be under budget include:
Salaries, wages and benefits (new)
Salaries, wages and benefits (existing)
Contracts (including RCMP)
Repairs and maintenance
Advertising and publications
Seniors tax rebate
Protective Services Building debt repayment
The salaries, wages and benefits as well as contract costs anticipated to come in under budget are a result of staff vacancies and the strategic onboarding of new staff to the organization. These projected savings are partially offset by overages in the Seniors’ Tax Rebate program and debt repayment for the Protected Services Building.
“The projected surplus reflects 4% of our $68.2M 2022 budgeted expenditures,” added Van Keimpema. “This surplus is in-line with municipal best practises and will provide Council with some flexibility during the upcoming budget deliberations.”
Each spring the actual surplus is determined at the conclusion of the annual audit, after which Council directs where any surplus be allocated. The draft 2023 budget currently proposes a 7.55% tax increase net of growth.
The Q3 report also reflects projections for the capital budget. Currently, there are 91 capital projects underway, including 52 projects carried forward from 2021. Thirty-five of these projects are completed or are nearing completion.