The Township of Minden Hills is projecting a sizeable surplus at year end, director of finance/treasurer Lorrie Blanchard told the Sept. 10 committee of the whole meeting.

Reporting up to July 31, 2020, she said the municipality was showing a $918,452.23 overall surplus. Of that, the general surplus is $767,195.43 and the water and wastewater department surplus $151,256.80.

She said overall expenditures are below anticipated 2020 budgeted amounts due to a number of factors.

They included wages and benefits, at $322,530.

“And that is due to positions that we still continue to try to recruit for,” Blanchard said.

There was also a significant amount of money not spent on major equipment purchases, repairs and maintenance, and capital, materials, supplies, and building repair and maintenance, totaling $364,100 combined.

Blanchard noted various revenues are also below anticipated 2020 budgeted amounts due to COVID-19, such as not accepting landfill items for a period of time during the pandemic, impacts on building permits and planning application fees; decreased interest due to outstanding taxes; cancellation of events and programs; and the arena closure this year.

She said COVID-related costs were about $82,935, primarily for wages and benefits. However, she noted that had been offset by Provincial Safe Restart Agreement Funding.

As far as revenue from taxation, she added, “folks have decided to go ahead and pay their taxes for the most part, which is very good news.”

Last year, the township ended 2019 with a $528,000 surplus.

“Short of something significant presenting itself that would incur significant expenditures to the township … we’re looking at another sizeable surplus I would say for 2020,” Blanchard said.

Coun. Bob Carter commented, “one of the things is obviously our wages and benefits. We still have vacancies and in fact we have more vacancies [since the report] so that number is not going to be used up and will continue to increase.”

He added, “one of the things we have to be careful of for 2021 is the fact we can’t have our normal projects plus all the projects that we missed in 2020. We probably just don’t have the physical manpower and administrative power to be able to handle all those projects, so we’re really going to have to take a hard look at what is realistic. There’s no use budgeting for X million dollars’ worth of projects when you don’t have the manpower to be able to accomplish that. It just becomes bad budgeting.”

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