Muskoka To-DAILY

Gravenhurst $580,000 over budget; 9 of 13 town buildings had roof collapses last winter

GRAVENHURST — A mid-year budget review shows the town almost $600,000 over budget for 2014; and rather than dip into reserves they will cut some spending and capital projects to pay for the extra snow plowing last winter.

That included roof collapses on an astonishing nine of 13 town buildings, says a news release from the town Monday.

Read on, it gets worse.

On August 19, during a budget review report, staff told council that expenses would exceed the budget by approximately $580,500 and outlined a plan to mitigate the costs moving forward.

“In excess of $350,000 of unforeseen expenses are directly attributed to very unusual snow clearing and sanding requirements, the cleanup of sand and other material from roadways in the spring and damages to roadways, culverts and municipal facilities,” said Dave Weldon, chief administrative officer for the Town of Gravenhurst said in a news release.

“Road maintenance was a huge cost for us,” added Geoff Carleton, director of infrastructure services. “In the first few months of 2014, we spent more on our roads than we did in the entire 2011-2012 budget, due to the extraordinary amount of snowfall.”

In the report, staff outlined additional expenditures including unplanned building repairs caused by weather events; these were primarily associated to roof failures that affected nine of the town’s 13 buildings.

Unexpected equipment failures and an overestimate of revenue also attributed to over-expenditures.

“We need to project realistic revenues as opposed to optimistic ones,” said Weldon, who is expected to leave his job with the town when a new council is elected this fall.

To mitigate the effect of these unforeseen costs, staff conducted a full review of operating and capital projects was conducted by staff to assess where cutbacks could be implemented for the balance of this fiscal year.

As a result, $207,530 was identified in program and capital spending reductions. Staff continues to examine areas where savings can be found with the least impact to programs and services.

Council approved recommendations that staff would continue to carefully monitor expenses and revenues to help mitigate the negative impacts of unanticipated expenses. All future budget surpluses will be transferred to the Corporate General Stabilization Reserve.

“While we can point to an extraordinarily harsh winter as a root cause of over expenditures, this is an important exercise for staff and our responsibility to practice due diligence,” said Weldon.

The purpose of the mid-year budget status report is to advise council and residents of the status of revenues received and incurred to June 30, 2014 and of anticipated year- end budget status as a result of the first half of the current year’s operation, says Weldon in the release.

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Posted by on Aug 25 2014. Filed under Headlines. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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