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IanO
01-03-2007, 03:28 PM
City records $11.2M surplus (2:05 p.m.)
Sixth surplus in seven years
Susan Ruttan, edmontonjournal.com
Published: Thursday, March 01, 2007

A booming city of Edmonton has chalked up another budget surplus its sixth in the last seven years.

The surplus for 2006 is $11.2 million on a $1.5-billion operating budget.

Much of the extra money comes from growth-related items fees for residential development, plus revenue from transit, parking meters and waste-user fees.
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City council has already allocated most of the surplus to top up its financial stabilization reserve to $85 million, the level council likes to
keep the reserve at. The rest will fund projects such as affordable housing, the Edmonton Land Trust and new street lighting on Candy Cane lane.

When the final audited results are reported in mid-April, council will allocate any remainder of the surplus.

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RichardS
01-03-2007, 05:21 PM
Enter letters to the editor and a couple of columnists demanding a "Cheque in the mail" in 5.....4.....3.....2.....

ShermanT
01-03-2007, 05:27 PM
^ I hate to say that you are probably right.

LindseyT
01-03-2007, 05:37 PM
Anybody care to have a pool on what the SUN's headline will be?

City coffes overflowing
Residents wonder why streets can't be plowed

Edmonton With a huge surplus anounced yesterday, city residents
are waiting for the city to announce plans to plow all roads next
winter..........Smart *** jab at Mandel......Taxes.....Waste of money on
the Art gallary....Police....Taxes...

So predictable.

m0nkyman
01-03-2007, 05:38 PM
You're not allowed to ***** about their letters until you've written one opposing.

Now, if you'll excuse me....

travis
01-03-2007, 05:46 PM
^If you're interested in b****es check out the venting section of the Journal.

LindseyT
01-03-2007, 06:03 PM
^If you're interested in b****es check out the venting section of the Journal.

I really can't stand the venting section of the Journal. It certainly brings the paper down a notch in my books. It's for people who have something to say about something, but are either
A) Too uneducated or lazy to write a letter to the editor
B) or are basing their opinion on faulty logic and by not having to write a couple paragraphs they don't have to defend the reason's for their opinion.

RichardS
01-03-2007, 07:34 PM
You're not allowed to b**** about their letters until you've written one opposing.

Now, if you'll excuse me....


done done and done

can I complain now?

ralph60
01-03-2007, 09:30 PM
So if Edmonton is running surpluses why do you need the refineries? :twisted:

RichardS
01-03-2007, 09:39 PM
If St Albert is running a surplus, why does it need more land??

or charge for bag tags....:P

m0nkyman
01-03-2007, 10:04 PM
You're not allowed to b**** about their letters until you've written one opposing.

Now, if you'll excuse me....


done done and done

can I complain now?

Yes. So can I. ;)

lux
03-03-2007, 11:45 AM
The city should not have that surplus, it shouldn't just pour into their reserves, particularly when the surplus is attributed to development fees.

What an obvious source of funds to ensure the infrastructure matches the development. Time for the intersections and suburban LRT lines to be built now, in time to prevent gridlock from getting worse, not in 20 years when it is a nightmare.

IanO
03-03-2007, 12:42 PM
The city should not have that surplus, it shouldn't just pour into their reserves, particularly when the surplus is attributed to development fees.

What an obvious source of funds to ensure the infrastructure matches the development. Time for the intersections and suburban LRT lines to be built now, in time to prevent gridlock from getting worse, not in 20 years when it is a nightmare.


bingo...reeping the benefits from growth yet not placing this windfall back to that area?

dumb

mick
03-03-2007, 03:45 PM
Having a significant reserve available to spend, and the balls to borrow when needed, on projects during the next downturn (cheapest time to build) might help avoid a repeat of our current infrastructure plight.

Sonic Death Monkey
04-03-2007, 09:55 PM
We all saw this one coming, didn't you?

http://edmsun.canoe.ca/Comment/2007/03/04/3694322-sun.html



Patience is overtaxed
By KERRY DIOTTE

The City of Edmonton had some great news last week.

It reported a budget surplus of $11.2 million for 2006.

"It's a tribute to both city council and the administration that we've been able to manage our finances so well in this time of unprecedented growth," boasted city manager Al Maurer in a news release.

The extra cash is from increased city revenues and stronger-than-expected performance from corporate investments.

But for beleaguered ratepayers who face a 2007 property tax hike of 6.5% this year - more than double the rate of inflation - the good news was short-lived.

If history is any indicator, taxpayers won't get a cent back. Indeed, some of the surplus cash is all but spent already.

According to Maurer's news release it will go to "initiatives such as affordable housing, the Edmonton Land Trust and lighting on Candy Cane Lane.

When final audited statements arrive in April council then gets to decide what to do with the leftover scraps of cash.

The annual surplus debacle has a familiar ring to it.

Since 2000, city council has amassed surpluses totalling $145 million and the vast majority of that has been squirrelled away in rainy day funds or blown on pet projects.

There's no reason to think that taxpayers will catch a break this time even though surpluses simply prove we were overtaxed in the first place.

About the only city councillor calling strongly for a refund to taxpayers is Coun. Mike Nickel.

Scott Hennig, Alberta director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, hit the nail on the head.

"It's unbelievable the city can cry poor one month, jacking up our taxes by 6.5% and then turn around a couple of months later and show up with yet another surplus," said Hennig.

Once greedy politicians get their grubby paws on our cash, they just don't want to let it go.

And it seems that the longer they're in civic politics the greedier they are for our hard-earned cash.

Back in the spring of 2004, this newspaper ran an editorial that suggested an $8-million surplus be returned to taxpayers by cutting them cheques.

A couple of councillors supported some sort of refund, including then-councillor Stephen Mandel.

He argued the refund could be made by applying it to a planned tax hike back then. "This money could cut the tax hike to 3.5%," Mandel argued.

Those kind of thoughts were written off as heresy by then-mayor Bill Smith, who called the idea "ridiculous.

"For anybody to criticize this council for not being prudent and supporting increasing the financial stabilization fund, (they) should get out of the newspaper business and get into the business of picking up bottles or something," sputtered the super-steamed Smith.

The silence today from Mayor Mandel on this latest surplus is deafening. He certainly hasn't been front and centre arguing for a refund now.

It's funny how politicians change their stripes once they're elected.

This desire to keep or spend this latest surplus shows how out of touch our civic politicians have become.

Coun. Michael Phair argued that the surplus is minuscule considering the city's total budget is $1.4 billion. Really? OK, then it's not worth keeping!

Give it back to people who really need a couple of extra dollars, such as low-income single parents or seniors struggling to stay in their own homes as property taxes rise.

These are the very people who are most hurt by this socialistic council's lust for spending.

It's just another slap in the face from a bunch of politicians who voted themselves a 13% pay hike that kicks in after this fall's election.

Clearly the vast majority of them have lost touch with the very people who elected them.

They overtax our wallets - and our patience.

mick
05-03-2007, 01:28 PM
I thought Ralph bucks might have put this idea of rebate checks to bed. How much would each citizen get if we split 11.5m between all the property owners in Edmonton? Would this money not be better spent on needed infrastructure projects?

Socialistic council lust for spending? Kerry, you must be kidding. What socialist spending programs has this council embarked upon? Have you even bothered to compare city expenditures in Edmonton with other cities across Canada or NA? Seems to me the city is struggling to find the cash to build the bare minimum to cover an infrastructure debt accumlated through the 1990s slash and burn provincial budgets. Oh, and tax increase was not more than double inflation. I believe the 2006 inflation rate (CPI, which tends to low ball real inflation) in Edmonton was 4%. What good are facts when you can simply fire out.

Obviously, no one likes tax increases. However, the fact of the matter is if we want more and better infrastructure, services (e.g. snowclearing) etc. it has to be paid for somehow.

kcantor
05-03-2007, 05:18 PM
We all saw this one coming, didn't you?
Let's see...

Total budget: $1,400,000,000.

Declared "surplus": $11,200,000

Amount Spent: $1,388,800,000.

Under budget by 0.8%.

Budgeted amount spent to actually run the City: 99.2%

How many of us - Kerry included - could set a personal budget for an entire year two months in advance including unknown items (other than historical precedent) including snow removal and utilities and be that d^mn close more than a year later?

I won't say all of it was well spent (I don't believe all of it was but the vast majority was spent in areas where there is no "discretion" whatsoever and that doesn't leave very much else) or that in some areas we did not spend enough (and there are many proponents - including me - of that on this site) but those are both very different topics and discussions.

The only ones that "didn't see this coming" don't pay attention and many of those that did simply - and rightfully - won't pay attention anyway.

ShermanT
05-03-2007, 06:08 PM
Budgeted amount spent to actually run the City: 99.2%

How many of us - Kerry included - could set a personal budget for an entire year two months in advance including unknown items (other than historical precedent) including snow removal and utilities and be that d^mn close more than a year later?


That is a really good point and something that should be noted. Not a lot of people look at $11million relative to the budget this city runs on. In that light the city looks to have done a fine job...

RichardS
05-03-2007, 06:25 PM
COnsidering that on my projects I am allowed at 10% variance....this one is pretty good.