News / Winnipeg

Winnipeg ends 2015 with $16.3 million surplus

City's finance chair says surplus could have been $21 million had public works department not overspent on snow

Metro file

The city’s surplus has grown yet again, according to a new financial report headed to City Hall.

Finance staff report the city ended 2015 with $16.3 million in the black as of December 31.

That’s up $5.3 million from the $11 million surplus staff forecast by the end of last November.

“Historically, the fiscal position of the city tends to improve towards the end of the year really through general belt-tightening measures,” finance committee chair Coun. Marty Morantz, said Monday.

Staff say the surplus money has since been transferred to the general purpose reserve fund, as per council direction in the event the city found more money in the bank.

“Ultimately, council will decide on how the surplus should be allocated,” Morantz said, listing options that includes keeping it in a stabilization reserve, or funding programs for the 2016 or future budgets.

“You always rather have a surplus rather than a deficit, certainly. I guess it’s one less thing to worry about.”

However, Morantz said that surplus could have topped $21 million had public works not overspent on snow removal last December.

A separate report shows the city went $4.6 million over its snow and ice budget thanks to two major snowfalls, and mild temperatures.

“I was hoping that we would actually come in under our snow budget last year because there was very little snow actually in 2015,” Morantz said.

“If we had come in on budget we’d be forecasting a surplus more in the range of $20-21 million.”

Although above-budget spending is never a good thing, Morantz believes that compared to previous years when the city blew through its snow budgets by tens of millions, “it certainly could have been a lot worse.”

Both reports will be debated during Friday’s finance committee.

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