Gail Martin, Independent Editor
Woolwich Township ended last year with an overall surplus — although the surplus mostly came from capital projects that weren’t completed in 2011.
Township treasurer Richard Petherick presented his report to councillors at the Aug. 7 committee-of-the-whole meeting.
The township ended 2011 with an operating deficit of $226,871, but this was largely offset by a capital surplus of $411,362, for a net surplus of $184,491.
Petherick explained that the operating deficit came from a combination of continued operating budget problems at the Woolwich Memorial Centre, along with overspending in winter control.
Petherick said that spending at the Woolwich Memorial Centre is still higher than budgeted on staffing and utility costs. As well, the switch to a deferred revenue system had a negative impact on the 2011 budget.
“We took a hit in 2011,” said Petherick.
On the capital side, however, the township spent less than expected, largely due to a lack of staff resources to complete several of the projects that had been budgeted.
Petherick recommended transferring the net surplus to the capital budget contingency reserve, something that did not sit well with councillor Mark Bauman.
“I have a real problem with taking back $400,000 that was earmarked for capital projects,” said Bauman, noting that the township is facing an increasing infrastructure deficit.
He said he would prefer to use the township’s operating contingency reserve to offset the operating deficit, keeping the entire capital surplus for capital projects in 2012.
Bauman’s suggestion, however, was not supported by councillors, who supported Petherick’s recommendation.
The township also experienced a surplus in the water program for 2011, of $124,189. This money will be used to offset a deficit in the wastewater reserve fund of $189,810.