Cost overruns at the Woolwich Memorial Centre continued to wreak havoc with the budget last year, but pushing back some capital spending allowed the township to finish 2011 with a small surplus, councillors learned this week.
Woolwich’s operating budget ran over by $226,871, while on the capital side the township spent $411,362 less than it planned to, providing a net surplus of $184,491, said director of finance Richard Petherick at Tuesday night’s council meeting.
The surplus will be transferred to the capital budget contingency reserve fund.
Furthermore, the township posted a surplus of $124,189 in its water operations, while suffering a deficit of $189,810 on the wastewater side.
The surplus goes to the water reserve fund. The deficit was covered by the wastewater reserve fund, which is healthy enough to take the hit, said Petherick.
While the WMC continued to be a drag on the budget in 2011, its finances were improved from the year previously, when a $385,000 shortfall contributed to some $550,000 in overspending in the budget for the recreation and facilities department. Petherick expects second quarter numbers to be released next week to show 2012’s number to be much better.
Last year, staffing costs and utilities were responsible for much of the WMC’s budget woes. Planning for staff costs of $1.2 million, the township spent $1.3 million at the facility. The cost of utilities came in at $459,000 some $77,000 higher than the budgeted amount of $381,000.
Add to that the $50,000 in deferred revenues pushed over into 2012 because of new accounting procedures, and the totals account for the $227,000 operating deficit, he explained.
That deficit was covered by some unspent money in the capital budget, though council did have some reservations about that. Coun. Mark Bauman expressed some concern about using funds earmarked for capital projects, pointing to a growing infrastructure deficit, but councillors eventually agreed to the solution put forward by Petherick.
In a related matter, councillors heard a report from the township’s auditor giving Woolwich’s books a clean bill of health
Matt Betick of KPMG reported the company’s audit found no issues or concerns to report to council – the financial statements for 2011 were completely satisfactory.