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Ward 1 News: 2014 Year-end Accountability Report

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News Release: Financial results for the year 2014, as compared to the budget

2014 Year End Accountability Report 

A. In 2014, there were three significant negative and not-budgeted for events or transactions:

1. ($15.4M) - Higher snow and ice control, street cleaning, pavement and street repair work, traffic operations, street lights electricity, and delay in excavation permit completions.
2. ($16.7M) - September Snowstorm and Enmax fire & outage.
3. ($35M) Transfer to a City-Owned Heritage Building Preservation Fund, which was approved by council.

* Brackets indicate negative amounts

However, there also were positive or surplus saving variances in 2014, the top nine of which were:

1. $32.9M – Higher Workers Compensation Board rebate and surplus and lower WCB rate
2. $31.3M - Lower than expected contingency expenses
3. $9.0M - Higher investment income on higher than budgeted principal balances
4. $6.9M - Higher than anticipated taxation supplementary revenue (additional business, houses etc come on line later during the year)
5. $2.7M - Higher than anticipated franchise fee revenue from higher water sales
6. $0.06M - Higher Calgary Transit revenue as a result of higher than budgeted ridership
7. $1.0M - retirement of Calgary Public Library’s debt
8. $7.2M - Savings in salaries due to vacancies and contract and general expenditure in various business units
9. $0.04M - Unexpected reimbursement of utilities flood related engineering cost from the Municipal Staffing Capacity Grant

Combined, the overall for the 2014 year-end resulted in a positive variance of $25.4M (this money transfers automatically to the Fiscal Stability Reserve).

B). Capital Budget

55.4% or $1.218B of the $2.2B of the 2014 City capital budget was spent (49.3% last year).
Tax supported  was 54.8% or $935M of the $1.706B budget was spent.
Actual capital expenditures and open purchase order at December 31, 2014 totalled more than $1.7B

C).  Fiscal Stability Reserve

The Fiscal Stability Reserve (FSR) is approximately at $200M at the end of 2014.  The TSFR is assessed for emergency or one time requests on various projects.

What do the 2014 year end results mean for Calgarians?

Previously, I posted that The City of Calgary has 25 million in surplus plus variance. The surplus is extra money that at the end of the year goes to a special fund, the FSR, also known as the rainy day fund.

The City can use the FSR fund in emergencies or once in a lifetime events or programs that are deemed important. Currently, the FSR fund has 300 M. Last year, The City put aside 1.5 million in a flood contingency plan. There is still 200 million remaining in the FSR.

I have residents frequently asking me, "When are taxes going down? When are we going to get a break?". I think city council needs to look at their overall budget and consider if we can use 25 million to decrease taxes for Calgarians. We still have 100 M left in the FSR despite  three major emergencies in 2014, the Snowtember event, Heritage housing fund, and the Enmax blackout.

My goal is to reduce taxes. I will continue to look into the next year's budget for ways to decrease operating costs and to more efficient ways to run the city. Please check out my Vice-chair blog for more details.


Markusoff, J. (March 16, 2015).  Savings to be spent, not refunded, in new city budget accountCalgary Herald.

This content represents the personal views and opinions of the Councillor and should not be taken as a statement of policy of The City of Calgary. The inclusion of any external content does not imply endorsement by The City of Calgary.

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