Springwater Year End Financial Results
Springwater’s 2018 year-end financial results reflect gross expenditures and revenues (including both capital and operating) of $37.9 million. The Township’s 2018 tax based operating surplus amounts to $640,235. Staff recommends, and Council will review this week, whether to allocate this surplus to reserves and reduce the amount of borrowing otherwise required by $540,019. Revenues exceeded plan and expenditures were less than plan, resulting in a net operating surplus of $1.5 million. After transferring some funds to reserves, the net operating surplus was the $640K referred to above. The 2018 Water and Wastewater Operations resulted in small surpluses, which were transferred to reserves for future operating and capital expenditures. Total reserve and reserve fund balances at year-end (December 31, 2018) were $27.4 million.
Council reviewed and approved the Township's Investment Policy to ensure the prudent management of the Township’s surplus funds and investment portfolio. The primary objectives of the Investment Policy in order of priority are:
- Adherence to Statutory Requirements
- Preservation of Capital
- Maintaining Liquidity
- Earn a Competitive Rate of Return
Council also authorized the use of the ONE Investment Program, which provides access to a wider range of investment products. The program has the potential for increasing investment returns while minimizing risk through diversification and professional management. In 2018, investment income was $83K greater than budget. With a formal investment policy and careful monitoring, this number will be greater in future.
Simcoe County Year End Financial Results
The County of Simcoe's 2018 year-end total revenue from operating and capital was $541 million. After expenses and transfers to reserves, this resulted in a year-end surplus for operating and capital of $1.9 million. This compares to a $2.8 million surplus in 2017. Income from government subsidies for Children Services, Community Services and Non-Profit Housing was greater than planned. Expenses were kept in line and transfers to reserves were able to be increased over budget by $12.6 million to result in an operating surplus of $3.5 million, which is 10% greater than that of 2017. After adding a net excess of $1.6 million of capital expenses over capital revenues, the net year-end surplus is the $1.9 million referred to above. The financial health of the County continues to be strong.
Ontario Regional Government Review
The Province initiated a review of Ontario’s 8 regional municipalities, including Simcoe County, and their lower-tier municipalities. The review is being undertaken by two Special Advisors who continue to conduct interviews of interested parties. There has also been a web registry where anyone could post comments as well as written submissions. Simcoe County Council formed two groups to review aspects of the questions and issues related to regionalization. Reports from these groups were presented to County Council this week for discussion and to establish consensus to develop a letter on behalf of Simcoe County that will be sent to the Province to express Simcoe’s views with respect to regionalization.
The Governance Committee met to review issues of governance. It recommended that a two-tier governance structure continue to be supported for the County of Simcoe. In the event of a Provincial desire to change this system, the Committee recommended that Simcoe would endeavour to work with the Province and request its cooperation by providing opportunity for ongoing local and community input.
The Committee recognized a desire for a reduction in the overall number of County councillors and endorsed that concept. Going forward (either status quo or under a modified two-tier structure), it is proposed that there continue to be direct representation from the local municipalities. Perhaps, the Mayor or an elected designate (with an alternate if absent), as well as a number of directly elected regional councillors who represent various geographic areas within the County.
Under the current structure, the Mayor and Deputy Mayor are indirectly elected to County Council and are all eligible to be appointed as Warden for a period of two years. It is proposed that only those persons directly elected as Regional Councillors be eligible to be nominated to the Office of Warden and would sit for the term of Council. This would potentially rectify any direct conflicts in the allocation of one’s time due to local municipal responsibility or allegiance.
The Regional Government Review Task Force consisted of a selection of County councillors from the different regions of Simcoe and they reviewed questions regarding municipal service delivery. The Task Force recommended areas where there may be opportunities for further consideration, rationalization or improvements in service delivery or coordination. The service areas recommended to be reviewed include: conservation authorities, fire services, land use planning, library services and stormwater management. In addition, other areas were identified as potentially benefiting from a service delivery review. The Task Force recommended that further consideration on the outlined services should be inclusive and involve various stakeholders, with some of these potential reviews being substantive, detailed in nature, and inclusive of financial analysis to understand what, if any changes, could be made to improve the delivery of service.
Listen to my recent radio interview reviewing current Springwater news items with Rock 95 and 107.5 KOOL FM news director Dan Blakeley.