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Kawartha Lakes councillors hear overall financial picture as budget process begins

Kawartha Lakes councillors hear overall financial picture as budget process begins

DAN CEARNS, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, for The Standard

KAWARTHA LAKES: City of Kawartha Lakes council has started discussing the 2022 municipal budget.

On Tuesday, September 14th, a special council meeting was held to start the annual budget process.

“This is council’s opportunity to ask questions and provide direction. This is a high-level overview of departments, what they did this year, what the pressures are going into next year, and an overview of the whole budget process,” Mayor Andy Letham explained at the beginning of the meeting.

Treasurer Carolyn Daynes said the municipality had spent over $5 million of just over $7 million the city received, in Safe Restart pandemic funding from the province, in 2020 and 2021. This leaves $1.5 million of that funding remaining for operating expenses related to the pandemic.

“We do have some expenses proposed in the 2022 budget to come out of that money. So after you take out that, we’re probably at about $1 million left to spend on the Safe Restart funding. I don’t think there’ll be any more [pandemic] money coming in,” Ms. Daynes added.

The treasurer told councillors the city has about $510,000 remaining of the 2019 municipal surplus funds, totalling over $3 million. The surplus funds were used for community and economic recovery purposes and the Fenelon Falls road reconstruction project. The city is also projecting another surplus for 2021.

“I projected out and determined there will be a surplus for 2021. However, that is dependent on the winter control season,” Ms. Daynes stated. “If we have the same expenditures as in 2020, in 2021, we will [have] a surplus in winter control again. However, if we have the same winter we had in 2019, we would probably be closer to [breaking] even in winter control. 2019’s winter was worse than in 2020.”

Ms. Daynes added, the city is also concerned about workers’ compensation expenses being over budget and a potential shortfall in arena revenue.

In 2022, city staff are targeting a 3 percent tax levy increase and a 1.5 percent dedicated capital levy.

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