Final recommended budget comes before Council

Saugeen Shores Chief Financial Officer/Treasurer, Daniel Waechter, said he is pleased that the final recommended budget will result in services being maintained while, at the same time, increasing the Legacy Fund and meeting several requests for funding.

“Many variables have come forward that impact the budget including the School Board rates, the proposed County rates, our final 2020 insurance premiums, a clearer understanding of union contract negotiations and final budgets from a number of organizations such as BASWR,” explained Waechter.

The budget, presented at February 24th Council of the Whole meeting, comes in at a blended rate of three per cent increase which will mean a Saugeen Shores homeowner will pay approximately $109.07 more this year on a property assessed at $320,000, for a total of $3,740.

Waechter pointed out that the operating and capital budget for 2020 is $42.6 million while revenues are $25.437 million and, therefore, the taxation levy will make up the difference of $17,242 million.

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“This budget maintains service levels, addresses a number of requests and continues our plan of saving for future upgrades, by adding the transfer of $750,000 to the Legacy fund, that will result in over $2 million in our reserve positions,” said Waechter.

Waechter added that staff will continue to work out Council’s and community requests that require preparation throughout the year. “Our long-range financial plan, reserve strategy and the Asset Management Plan all play a big factor in determining the future infrastructure and services that drive our community’s tax rates.”

The BIA levies for 2020 be set at $33,000 for the Port Elgin BIA and $29,350 for the Southampton BIA.

Operating Budget Highlights

Information Technology – reduced the salary and benefits for the IT Manager position from $132,000 to $90,000 to consider the impact of a mid-year hire; added $28,000 for an IT Security Monitoring contract

Community Incentive Program (CIP) – added $90,000 for developer incentives, funded by expected 2019 operating surplus that will be transferred to the Future Capital Reserve at year-end and transferred back to the 2020 operating budget to cover the budgeted CIP

Corporate Donation – Rotary District Conference – added $5,000 for sponsorship of the 2020 Rotary District Conference being held in Saugeen Shores, to be funded by a transfer from the Tax Stabilization Reserve.

SMART Funding – increased the budgeted amount of SMART funding from $130,000 to $140,622.52

Labour Adjustments – Labour costs have been increased by $74,791 based on new assumptions regarding the collective bargaining process; Adjustments to expected hiring timing and vacancies; Changes to the Economic Adjustment (the proposed budget uses a 2% Economic Adjustment); Adjustments based on employee job evaluations

Insurance Adjustments – Insurance premiums have been increased by $28,463 based on actual billing from our provider. It is anticipated that coverage will be reviewed in 2020 and that Staff may recommend seeking competitive proposals from alternate providers for insurance coverage in 2021

Bruce Area & Solid Waste Recycling (BASWR) Contributions: The Saugeen Shores portion of the BASWR 2020 budget has been increased from an initial estimate of $229,813.19 to $251,262.80 now that the final BASWR budget has been passed. The $251,262.80 due to BASWR represents an increase of 14.80% over 2019. The $21,449.61 difference is offset by a reduction to the transfer to the Landfill Expansion Reserve and does not have an effect on the tax rate

Water Department – Debt Payments: The originally presented budget did not show any budget for payments towards an OMEIFA loan used for water infrastructure dating back to 2009. The debt payments of $566,198 have been added to the budget, and the transfer to the Water Reserve reduced by the same amount. The debt payments were already included in the Water Financial Plan completed in 2019, and the budget now more accurately reflects the figures in the Water Financial Plan.

Capital Budget Highlights

Snyder St. Reconstruction Design Project – added at $50,000 to be funded by taxation Bruce Road 25 Outlet Design Project – added at $5,000 to be funded by taxation
Rainbow Crosswalks Project – added at $10,000 to be funded by taxation ($5,000) and community donations ($5,000)
Water Bottle Fill Stations Project – added at $5,000 to be funded by taxation
Accessible Change Table (Port Elgin Beach House) Project – added at $5,000 to be funded by taxation

The final budget By-law approval will be at a future meeting.

Mayor Luke Charbonneau said that it is “another growth budget.  We are continuing to make significant investments across the community while continuing to save for important recreation infrastructure projects.”

To read the entire Budget, CLICK HERE