By: Megan Roth
Town Council held a public meeting at the Armoury Monday night where they went over the budget from last year as well as the projected budget for 2016.
Councillor Barry Elderkin explained the town ran a deficit of $120,615 in 2015, this deficit included depreciation which Council has to include in their budget.
In 2015 Council transfered a total of $954,804.63 to reserves for projects that were supposed to be finished in the year but for “whatever reason” were not. By transferring the money to reserves it will not affect the 2016 budget as the money had already been allocated in 2015.
To make up the nearly $1 million transfered to reserves for unfinished projects Council explained there are nine unfinished projects that were meant to be completed in 2015. Of those nine projects the most expensive one is to fix up the Armoury which Council has put aside $120,000 to complete.
The other eight projects include: general office construction – $60,000, transportation – $47,100, environment – $60,000, Brown Field – $15,000, sidewalks – $65,000, cemetery expansion – $20,000, landfill liability – $50,000 and hospital capital – $75,700.
The revenue brought in, in 2015 was $5,304,953 and the expenses were $5,425,568. This is what makes up the deficit.
The majority of the revenue brought in was the tax, levy and grants which made up a total revenue of $3,454,113 for the town.
The biggest expense the town faced in 2015 was categorized as environment and public health. This made up a total of $1,383,408 followed closely by the $1.2 million spent on transportation.
The Town of Maple Creek has four long term loans to be repaid. For Murrydale Crescent there is $348,396.67 left to be repaid with the final payment being made in 2019. The town owes $268,878.19 for the Integrated Healthcare Facility with the last payment being made in 2018. For the new garbage truck and bins the town owes $123,424.23 with the last payment to be made in 2017. Finally the town has until 2025 to pay off the $241,295.81 for the new lift station.
The town committed to pay $3 million for the new Integrated Healthcare Facility and as of December 2015 they have paid a total of $2,924,295.59.
To ensure the town can pay for replacement equipment when it is needed at the end of its projected life span, the Federal Government legislated all municipalities must budget 100 per cent of the depreciation value. Councillor Elderkin explained it as after buying a new car and driving it off the lot it begins to lose value. To make sure you can buy a new car at the end of its life you need to budget for that each year.
In 2015 the budget for depreciation was $555,018. For 2016, the budget is $595,755.
For 2016 Council is projecting a surplus of $9,354. Council has budgeted a total revenue of $6,238,396 with expenses budgeted at $6,229,042.
The Town of Maple Creek hopes to finish 13 projects throughout the year as well as another three without a known price tag but, are included in the projected budget.
Included in the future project list is: a new compactor at the landfill – $20,000, eight SCBAs for the fire department – $20,000, new condenser for the arena – $100,000, water treatment plant upgrades – $127,000 and Sidney Street sewer main repair – $250,000.
Town Council did not change the mill rate for 2016, it remained at 26 mills. The base tax for 2016 remained at $1,050.
Provincial legislation says a town’s utilities, that being water and sewer, must be self sufficient. After reviewing the utilities Council found they were running a deficit. To change this they instituted an increase set over three years. Saskatchewan Municipal Board approved Council’s projected rates.
During the question period it was asked what was being done about the town’s sewer mains and if the town will have to continue to deal with water breaks.
Councillor Tina Cresswell, who sits on the utilities committee, said she has met with the town foreman, Neil Bookout, to discuss the water main problems. Because the problem is too large to complete in one year they have to work in sections tackling the most troubled spots first. This year Sidney Street poses the biggest problem and will be attended to first.
Town Council will meet for their next meeting on May 11 at 7:30.