- Town Staff have released a mid-year financial report showing well-controlled spending against the Town’s 2023 budget.
- On the operations side, nearly all departments were spending at or below their budget, resulting in a favorable overall variance of $868,000.
- However, the Development Services department is 250% over budget.
- The Town has collected only $729,000 in Development Charges (DCs) revenue through the first two quarters, derived from 36 residential units and just over 11,000 square feet of non-residential development.
- Based on previous years, a total of $14.12 million in DCs from 469 residential units and 475,890 square feet of non-residential development were expected through 2023.
- Stouffville’s capital projects program was given a $63.9 million budget for 2023, with $32.8 million of that amount carried forward from previous years.
- Just $7.8 million has been spent on capital projects at the mid-year mark.
- Staff did note a higher-than-expected collection rate from outstanding tax accounts, with over $2.5 million collected from 430 accounts over the last four months.
Of the operating variances listed in the report, the only department showing a significant negative variance from their approved 6-month budget was Development Services. In response to a request for further detail, Town Staff said the $281,000 variance is due to lagging revenues. They believe the variance will be corrected in the second half of 2023.
We also inquired about the significant difference between collected and expected Development Charges. DCs are a primary funding source for development-driven capital projects, the report explains, and only “modest growth” is expected through the rest of 2023. According to the Town, permits are not being requested by developers at the expected pace due to current economic conditions.
Finally, we asked about Stouffville’s low capital spending and apparent slow pace in executing approved projects. Of the Town’s $63.9 million in approved capital spending, over 50% of that budget pertains to projects carried forward from previous years. “Many projects are multi-year and have multiple phases,” Staff told Bullet Point News. “Many of the projects are in progress, just in early phases, thus spending represents a smaller portion of the budget,” they added. However procurement seems to also be an issue, and staff noted long lead times delaying payments.
While inflation pressures persist, Staff have noted some easing. Levels are expected to remain slightly above the Bank of Canada’s target range for the remainder of 2023.