Town councillors have approved the transfer of $370,000 to reserves after showing surplus funds in Ponoka’s operating budget.
The approval came Sept. 9 during a regular meeting. The majority of surplus funds, at $294,000, will go to the electrical department reserves to ensure upgrades and maintenance on electrical infrastructure can occur, explained Sandra Lund, acting director of corporate services.
The remaining $76,000 is being transferred to the general benefit reserve.
Coun. Carla Prediger asked why the majority of money is going to the electrical department. Lund replied the electrical department is operating in a fiscally responsible manner and putting surplus aside for large projects.
In previous years, surplus dollars earned from the electrical department were transferred to the general reserves and any maintenance for the department would come from that account, explained Mayor Rick Bonnett.
“Now they’re trying to build up the electrical reserves so that when they do have to replace higher costing items, we don’t have to pull it out of general revenues,” said Bonnett.
He added that town planners would plan their operating budget using revenue from the electrical department. Every other department would rely on that money but Bonnett said the plan is to ensure the electrical department has funds to deal with emergencies. Changes in how electrical surplus is saved began in 2011.
“We used to use the electrical revenue to fund the whole town’s operations,” said Lund.
The general benefit reserve has a surplus of $697,500 before 2013 surplus dollars.
Crunching revenue numbers
The Town of Ponoka’s statement of revenues and expenses provides some information on this year’s expenses.
Budgeted revenues for the town were set at $14.46 million with an actual revenue of $14.38 million leaving the town short by $82,000. Expenditures were set at $14.3 million but spending was down by $472,000.
Increases in revenues came from areas such as Ponoka County contributions, tax penalties, franchise and concession and building permits. Areas lower than budgeted were in the town’s tax revenues, short by $100,000, and at the Ponoka Culture and Recreation Complex at $47,000. Some of that was offset by miscellaneous rentals at the arena.
Protective services budgeted spending was set at $1.92 million, but was over by more than $33,000. The main reason came from the RCMP contract being over by $60,000, which was partially offset by firefighters’ salaries being down by $30,000.
The legislative budget was over with $190,976 in expenses, up from the $179,300 budgeted. The majority of that came from $10,000 over budget from conference expenses with new town councillors attending annual conferences and training.
Environmental services expenses were set at $3.3 million but were over at $3.5 million. Over-expenditures were in water purchases at $112,00 and $40,000 for hauling fees to the landfill at Buffalo Lake.