Midway through the year, St. John’s city revenue is up and expenses are down from the year’s budget projections.
With higher than expected revenues from federal government grants (in lieu of taxes) and water consumption by neighbouring municipalities, St. John’s 2014 revenue as of June 30 was $143 million, up from a projected $138.3 million.
On the expenditure side of the ledger, expenses are $111 million, down from a projected $113.6 million, despite higher-than-expected snowclearing costs.
“The federal government pays grants in lieu of taxes, but they base it on the assessed value of the federal government properties,” said Breen.
“And the federal government properties had a higher value than they did the year before, and it was above our estimates.”
The city is now projecting a year-end surplus of $3.7 million on its $272.3-million budget.
“What it means is that if you’re looking at a $250-million budget, you’re pretty much on budget,” said Breen.
“Three-and-a-half million dollars is not a lot in that type of budget. So it means we’re managing our expenses well, and our revenue has been slightly higher. We’ve been able to withstand the winter that we had and the overexpenditure in the snowclearing budget.”
The city shouldn’t make any plans for that surplus just yet, warned Breen.
“That’s a very thin margin. That can go either way by the time everything is said and done, so I wouldn’t go out and spend $3.5 million all of a sudden,” he said.
The city has spent $10.8 million on snowclearing so far this year, more than three million more than its year-to-date projection of $7.7 million, and two-thirds of the $16 million allotted for snow clearing in 2014.