Greater Sudbury spent $1.4 million more than budgeted in 2017, out of a total budget of more than $500 million, members of the finance committee were told this week.
Reserve funds will be used to make up the shortfall, since it's illegal for municipalities to run a deficit. A number of departments were overbudget, but underexpenditures in other areas kept the final figure at $1.4 million.
The main culprit in the budget overruns was the roads department, which spent $2 million more than forecast, mainly in winter road plowing and maintenance. In contrast, a surge in applications for building permits meant that department brought in $1.9 million more in revenue than budgeted.
Bailing out the Sudbury Theatre Centre led to a $200,000 expense that wasn't part of the budget.
An increase in how much the city will have to pay as a result of “legal actions pending against the city” led to an increase of $250,000. Legal costs overall are also $350,000 overbudget “resulting from a significant increase in the amount and uniqueness of protracted litigation files.”
These costs were partially offset by an increase in investment revenue of $270,000.
The biggest unexpected source of revenue is $950,000 resulting from fines levied under the Provincial Offences Act, far more money than expected.
In the animal control department, which the city took over from the private sector a few year ago, tag revenue is less than forecast, and along with higher than forecast expenses, led to a $130,000 overexpenditure. They also took in $50,000 less in animal licenses than expected and spent $100,000 more in staffing costs.
Greater Sudbury Transit was overbudget by $940,000, brought on by things such as a shortfall in bus fare revenue of $240,000 and maintenance costs that were $805,000 more than expected. But salary costs were $180,000 less than forecast, largely due to vacancies.
Emergency Medical Services came in $560,000 underbudget, mostly because they had staff on leave due to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the city was unable to find replacements.