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Greater Sudbury projects 2021 surplus of $3.8M, but much could still change

Provincial funding decisions and snowfall could impact city’s books
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The City of Greater Sudbury has posted a 2021 budget surplus of approximately $3.8 million as of Aug. 31 against a total operating budget of $641 million.

“COVID-19 continues to be a factor in daily operations,” city budget co-ordinator Liisa Lenz wrote in a report the city’s finance and administration committee will discuss Tuesday. 

“Factors such as capacity and enhanced safety and cleaning measures continue to add additional pressures, as well as costs associated with the closing of facilities for extended times during stay-at-home orders and the re-opening of those facilities.”

Included in these shortcomings is an anticipated $1.2-million shortfall in Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation slot revenues as a result of provincial stay-at-home orders and capacity limitations. 

The city has also recorded a $720,000 net over-expenditure in security, bylaw and parking, primarily as a result of a shortfall in revenues for lottery licences, parking fines and fees and portable sign permits. 

Facility closures and provincial stay-at-home orders also resulted in an under-expenditure of $4.4 million in operating expenses, salaries and benefits in the city’s leisure and cemetery services departments and a shortfall of $3.4 million in user fee revenue. 

Waste collection has cost the city $630,000 less than expected as a result of temporary reductions in waste collection programs related to the pandemic alongside centralized collection services.

Lenz wrote that the city anticipates all COVID-related expenditures will be covered through provincial funding and a contribution from reserves. 

“At present, it appears as though Safe Restart funding will be sufficient to cover these additional expenditures,” she wrote. “With the anticipated overall year-end surplus, any planned reserve contributions will be returned.”

Included in these expenditures is $4.6 million spent on vaccination efforts to date. 

Other variations in the budget thus far in 2021 include:

  • An increase in anticipated interest revenue of $350,000
  • A reduction in anticipated debt repayments of $600,000 as a result of not issuing debt in 2021
  • A $500,000 shortfall in provincial offences office revenues with offsetting under-expenditures of $500,000 primarily due to COVID-19 restrictions
  • An anticipated shortfall in revenues of $580,000 due to a delay in implementing the red light camera program. 
  • Emergency medical services spent $250,000 less than anticipated due to staff secondment to the vaccination clinics, the Community Paramedicine for Long-Term Care Program and vacancies. 
  • Fire services spent $250,000 more than budgeted due to overtime costs as a result of increases in leaves of absence and retirements. 

Although the city currently anticipates under-expenditure of $3.4 million in winter control due to favourable weather conditions in the first half of the year, much can still change. 

During a finance and administration meeting last month, city CAO Ed Archer clarified that this figure remains fluid. 

“The winter season this budget is intended to cover isn’t over,” Archer said, adding that while he hopes the next few months are relatively mild, the current remaining budget will fund whatever services are required.

This, he said, “will significantly influence our year-end position.”

Any surplus related to winter control activities at the end of the year will shift into the winter control reserves if the contribution does not put the city into an overall deficit situation, and any remaining overall surplus will go into various reserves. 



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Tyler Clarke

About the Author: Tyler Clarke

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for Sudbury.com.
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