The Town of Gananoque ended the 2021 fiscal year with a net operating surplus of $559,703, councillors learned this week.
Council received the 2021 year-end financial results during its regular meeting Tuesday.
On the $19,199,341 2021 budget, the surplus translates to a 2.9 per cent variance.
Casino revenues were again heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic; they totalled $630,462, with a budget of $600,000. In comparison, the 2019 slot revenues were $1,434,896. In 2016 the funding reached $1,776,270.
The town received a 2021 Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund (OMPF) total of $1,377,000 from the province. This transfer payment is used as general operating revenue. Gananoque also received $139,263 in provincial Safe Restart operating funding to help cope with the economic effects of COVID.
Meanwhile, the Shorelines Casino Thousand Islands payment in lieu of taxes was $177,923 down from $247,524 in 2020.
Council expenses were $18,672 over budget. The overages were in legal fees, advertising and memberships.
Town Hall building expenses were $2,491 over budget, mainly due to building maintenance costs.
The council and election budget is $18,507 over budget, mainly due to legal fees and advertising. The fire department ended the year with a $119,578 surplus. This savings was mainly driven by payroll reductions.
As for the town's police department, it ended the year with a surplus of $29,621. The police force's COVID costs were funded by the Safe Restart grant in the amount of $67,933.
The doctor recruitment line item came in under budget by $28,550, with a full complement of doctors paying rent.
The public library was under budget by $17,783, with the surplus transferred to the library reserve. The library board's prior-year accumulated surplus added to the 2020 surplus results in a year-end balance in the reserve of $61,397. The library board could use these funds for capital projects or for matching dollars of a grant opportunity, council heard. Town council gave the library a municipal grant of $205,600 as per budget approval.
Meanwhile, the roads department ended fiscal 2021 with a deficit of $93,914. With the budget of $1,659,800, this is a variance of 5.7 per cent.
The United Counties audit had not been completed at the time of the Gananoque report, however, council heard counties staff estimates the 2021 year-end Joint Services to be in a surplus, with Gananoque to be issued a credit in the amount of $35,668.
Water and wastewater operations had an annual surplus of $395,369. In 2021, the system saw significant consumption increases, with last year's consumption double the 2020 volume.
(Keith Dempsey is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Brockville Recorder and Times. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.)
Keith Dempsey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brockville Recorder and Times