County of Wellington saw a 2021 year-end budget surplus of $5.6 million

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WELLINGTON COUNTY - The County of Wellington saw a 2021-year end surplus of $5.6 million which works out to be 5.2 per cent of the 2021 tax levy or 2.4 per cent of the budgeted operating expenditures.

"The total tax levy for the county in 2021 was $108,828,100 – this is the total amount of property taxes collected for the county, so the surplus is 5.2 per cent of that amount. The total budgeted operating expenditures for the county in 2021 was $231,766,600, so the surplus is 2.4 per cent of that amount," stated county treasurer Ken DeHart in an email.

In DeHart's report of the 2021 year-end budgetary surplus, he noted that COVID-19 has had a positive impact on the 2021 financial year. He explained revenues have remained strong for the most part as residents and businesses continue to invest in property improvements like building and planning permits.

He further pointed out that the county’s management efforts have led to more timely recovery of assessment growth and lower tax write-offs.

"In addition, all of the remaining unconditional COVID funding such as safe restart funding was fully utilized in 2021 because it was uncertain that this funding could carry over to 2022. The combination of all of these factors lead to a higher than anticipated surplus,” he said.

The federal and provincial governments provided the county with additional funding in 2021 to assist with impacts from the pandemic. The county has received nearly $3.8 million in unrestricted funding for this purpose.

Of the overall funding, $2,311,900 was dedicated to 2020 operations through the safe restart agreement.

In 2021, the county fully utilized the safe restart funds, which was $986,000, as well as the COVID-19 recovery fund, which was $463,000.

As for the differing county departments’ operating budgets, many were able to come out of 2021 under budget.

The roads department’s net operating costs have come below the budgeted amount by $483,500 in 2021. Of this amount, about $90,000 was saved as a result of a vacant position not filled during the year.

Also, the department was able to save $210,000 from safety devices and $200,000 from minor capital work.

Police Services was able to save $570,600. This was predominantly due to the OPP contract reconciliation of 2020 and the delay in hiring the sergeant for the community safety services unit.

Meanwhile, the planning department had a positive variance of $504,300 as a result of higher than expected budgeted revenues, source water protection savings, and general operating savings.

Other county departments that has positive budget variances include:

Angelica Babiera, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, GuelphToday.com

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