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 account. Calgary Herald.
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