Snow-removal savings put city on path to $28-million surplus
Another $8 million saved by reducing overtime and not filling vacant positions
The city predicts it will end this year with a $28.4-million operating surplus, in large part because it has spent less than it had budgeted to clear snow and ice from city streets.
Of the total, $13 million has been saved because of warmer-than-usual weather last winter and this fall, the city said Thursday in a news release.
Another $8.2 million in savings this year come from personnel costs, by cutting back on overtime and not filling vacant positions, among other measures..
In total, the surplus equals 1.1 per cent of the city's $2.5-billion 2016 operating budget.
If the anticipated savings are realized, 2016 would be the fifth straight year the city has seen a budget surplus.
Surplus funds are not used to reduce property taxes. Instead, the money goes into a financial stabilization reserve for "extraordinary circumstances or emergent financial issues," the city said.
The reserve "acts as a risk management fund" for snow removal and other volatile spending. But surplus funds can also be used for other programs and initiatives. In each of the past three years, council directed $3.5 million to Edmonton's plan for affordable housing.
The forecast surplus will go to council on Tuesday as part of a report on projected year-end financial results.