During the most recent meeting of Strathmore Town Council, it was reported that the town is projected to experience a budget surplus.

Tom Maier, manager of financial planning, budgeting, and analysis, presented before council to bring them up to speed on the surplus, and make recommendations regarding how to best use it. 

“We have dollars in front of us, it looks like about $800,000 from this year; (the) past year surplus (is) about $3.6 million, so we should be in that $4.4 to $4.5 million range,” he said. “We have some commitments from those dollars for some capital projects that council approved to be funded from our surplus from last June.”

Maier explained the town currently has $480,000 committed to projects that have been completed, as well as roughly $350,000 budgeted towards projects which are still ongoing.

Overall, the town maintains a roughly $3.2 million surplus. This was recommended to be moved into the town’s reserves, in the following amounts:

• Financial Stabilization Reserve: $1,550,000 

• Recreation Capital Reserve: $152,238 

• Water Capital Reserve: $600,000 

• Sanitary Sewer Capital Reserve: $600,000

• Storm Water Capital Reserve: $300,000

“It gives us more flexibility, it gives council more flexibility of how to manage and what to do with those resources, rather than just leaving it in our, what we call, unrestricted, accumulated surplus,” said Maier. “One reason why we have focused heavily on the water, sanitary sewer, and stormwater is, those are our three biggest capital project areas. The reserve balances in those are probably less than what we would consider to be sustainable for the future.”

Regarding the recreation capital reserve, Maier added that balance is currently in the negative, and setting the recommended funds away to balance that will take the account out of the red. 

Coun. Jason Montgomery motioned to approve the request to transfer funds into the indicated reserves as presented, immediately following Maier’s presentation to council.

“During my time on council, I have seen the balance of our reserves fluctuate in a downward trajectory, and … I am a fiscal conservative and I think governments should only have as much money as they need to conduct the business that they need to,” he said. “This is important that we do this to get our reserves into a more healthy position so that we can meet the costs that we will be facing in the future as infrastructure comes due for renewal and other costs face us.”

Montgomery described that this addition to the town’s reserves will help to mitigate future tax increases on local ratepayers. His motion, following discussion, was carried unanimously by council.

Maier said a reserve policy intends to be brought before council within the next two to three months in order to outline and direct how to best to build the town’s reserves, as well as how to utilize them.

By John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on May 04, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from   Strathmore Times   Strathmore, Alberta

Comments are Welcome - Use the 'Join the Discussion' above any replies, or 'TheRegional / Chat' below replies. Both links take you to the same place. You will be asked to become a registered user if you are not one already - Posts are moderated