Thursday, May 2, 2019

April 29, 2019 Council Meeting Notes: 2018 budget results mean more funding for capital projects

On Tuesday, I posted about how Langley City’s 2018 financial results were reviewed by an independent auditor as required by provincial law and received the all clear. This is one of the many steps required to prepare Langley City’s Annual Report which is one of the ways that local governments provide financial transparency to their stakeholders.

At the beginning of 2018, council approved its budget for the year. This is a budget which means that at the end of the year, the budget will not exactly line up with the actual results. Revenue might be different than what was estimated, the City’s might have received a grant, or an unusual amount of snow might have fallen; these are some examples of why actual year end results might not line up with a budget.

The City’s must run balanced budgets as per provincial law, so we can never spend outside of our means.

One of the provincial requirements is that we reconcile the 2018 budget with the actual 2018 year-end results. Council gave first, second, and third reading to do just that on Monday night.

The City budgeted that it would receive $48.3 million in revenue, but actually received $52.7 million in revenue. This was due to receiving around $900,000 more than expected from casino proceeds and around $3.2 million more than budgeted due to record breaking development activity.

On the operating expense side of things, excluding amortization, the City was under-budget by $1.5 million. The big reason why was due to unfilled staff positions at City Hall, the RCMP and our fire service. These positions are planned to be filled.

While engineering operations was under-budget in 2018, wire theft costs within that department were over-budget by $88,000. This is a cost that ebbs and flows in the City; some years have little wire theft and other years have more. The City has been working to make stealing wire less profitable for thieves by installing deterrent devices, and by using less valuable metal.

Our parks department was over-budget with one of the drivers being homeless camp cleanup costs which were $64,00 over budget. This means that the City spent around $300,00 for “City Image Maintenance.” This shows one of the direct costs to taxpayers of not having supportive housing for people who are homeless. This is why it is important for us to continue to work with the province to get more supportive housing in Langley.

Because the City received more money than it spent in 2018, the unspent money is placed into our capital reserves to be used for projects such as upgrading parks or replacing water and sewer lines in future years.

Langley City council gave final reading to our 2019 tax rate bylaw. You can read more about this in a previous post about the April 8th council meeting.

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