Financials for First Half of 2020 Now Available

The agenda for the Committee of the Whole Council Meeting on October 5 includes a report from Treasurer Ian Davey that provides details of the financials for the period to June 30, 2020.  The usual format indicates how much of the budget is left for Revenues and Expenditures but for comparison purposes, he includes the 2019 report for a similar period.  As expected, the numbers are heavily impacted by the effect of the pandemic but revenue is also severely impacted by unusually high successful tax appeals resulting in tax refunds of $1.3M.  Of this, $600K hits Cobourg.  The biggest amounts go to Home Depot and Walmart who had major refunds from 2017, 2018 and 2019.  Surprisingly, the net impact on the budget is not too bad at all – at least not so far.

Ian Davey
Ian Davey

Ian’s report indicates that compared to budget, 68% of non-levy revenue is yet to be collected but that 58% of expenditures are yet to be spent.  I think that indicates a problem and although an accountant may understand exactly how big that problem is, I can’t get my head around it.  The basic problem is that revenues and expenditures are not spread evenly through the year but comparing to the previous year is helpful.

So let’s look closer.  For 2020, $24.7M of revenue comes from the tax levy and $15M from other sources for a total of $39.7M.  Of the $15M, to June 30 only $5.1M of revenue has come in.  In 2019 for the same period, $5.8M had come in so it would appear that as of June 30, revenue is about $700K short.

Looking at Expenditures to June 30, $17.6M was spent in 2019 but in 2020 $16.9M had been spent to June 30 – so costs in the first half were less by the same amount as revenue. The department with the biggest reduction in expenditure is Parks and Recreation.

That indicates that to June 30, there is no problem assuming of course that the rest of the year will follow the same trend.

Ian reports that most taxpayers are paying their taxes on time so tax levy revenue is OK. And hopefully CCC and Concert Hall revenues will pick up in Q3 and Q4.

What’s needed now is a forecast of how the year will end and what should be done in 2021 although this will not be easy.

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Leweez
28 September 2020 6:48 pm

Anyone else notice the expenditures for the Protection services?
13,000,000 dollars?
My God, how are alternatives not being looked at?

Last edited 20 days ago by Leweez
Bryan
Reply to  Leweez
28 September 2020 8:33 pm

Easy there Leweez!

You need to read more than just the headlines before jumping to confusion. The whole story is in the details

First: What do you understand is meant by the term “Protection Services?
Police? Fire? These would be the ones that come to mind for most people.

Cobourg’s definition includes: Building Dept, Property Standards, Conservation Authority and more.

Some of these services generate revenue which has to be deducted from the expenses. The Protection services net expense is $9,833,506. Still a sizable chunk of change, but somewhat less than the $13.3M that you were up in arms about.

I have reformatted the Protection Services data to provide a clearer picture.

The chart is here

Last edited 20 days ago by Bryan
Leweez
Reply to  Bryan
28 September 2020 8:44 pm

They budgeted for $13,000,000 they will use every bit of it

Perplexed
Reply to  Leweez
29 September 2020 8:32 pm

If you think protection services are expensive now. Wait to you see. The increase in policing expense when the 2 new drug rehabs slide into town
If you have not heard about them yet call planning department . Applications are in. The unfortunate problem is we will be bringing other. Towns drug problems to our town for rehab .

Deborah OConnor
Reply to  Perplexed
30 September 2020 1:18 am

People in drug/alcohol re-hab treatment centres are not running amok partying. It’s the exact opposite, let’s help them by leaving them alone to work through their recoveries.

Sandpiper
Reply to  Deborah OConnor
30 September 2020 8:20 am

SORRY TO SAY there is a big difference in how public Govt . operated facilities and private for profit operations are handled . No fences . security or policing .
The operators at Victoria Inn on Rice lake just sold after 4 yrs of operation
and headed back to Toronto area as there were no local patrons using the facility
most if not all were from the Greater Tor. region . and people of professional and union employment back ground Still Police and Ambulances were there frequently through ot the week
There is also a difference as to the type of resident a facility run by Unions and Govt. take in . They are not street level drug users that were given a choice between Jail for multiple offences or a Rehab pleasant rehab stay

Old Sailor
28 September 2020 8:33 am

One would expect that there are say ten key financial indicators that can be reviewed at each quarter end to predict the overall trend for the year. Surely by late September Council should be given a narrow range of possible outcomes for 2020. Otherwise a 2021 budget could not be prepared.

Ken Strauss
27 September 2020 1:26 pm

Comparing 2019 with 2020 would be much easier if the information were side by side rather than in separate scanned documents that cannot be easily used in Excel. Why? I guess that comparison is discouraged!

Keith Oliver
Reply to  Ken Strauss
28 September 2020 12:42 pm

Ken
Your suggestion is a good one, especially for those who have a hard time reading such information. Your last comment is unecessary!

Rob
Reply to  Keith Oliver
28 September 2020 1:58 pm

Keith – any update on the outdoor fitness park initiative?

Keith Oliver
Reply to  Rob
28 September 2020 9:50 pm

Rob
The fitness park is on hold for the moment. We were successful in winning a 25,000 dollar grant from the Feds and having the expiry date moved forward until March of 2022. This because of the pandemic and problems it created regarding more fund raising. Will keep everyone up to date as future developments take place.

JimT
Reply to  Keith Oliver
29 September 2020 4:43 am

I assume those downvotes are against the concept of the “fitness park” and not the comment itself, which is quite reasonable, factual and helpful.

Rob
Reply to  Keith Oliver
29 September 2020 8:06 am

Of course I was aware the project was paused but I was just curious how the funding details had “shaped up.” 🙂 Looking forward to seeing this completed. Thanks

Informed
Reply to  Rob
29 September 2020 9:44 am

Well that’s at least two.

Rob
Reply to  Informed
29 September 2020 9:49 am

Informed, were you and are you in favour of the Frink (Rotary Harbourfront Outdoor Skating Rink)?

Informed
Reply to  Rob
29 September 2020 10:09 am

Im not in favour of throwing money to any special interest group that benefits few at the cost of the taxpayer. The maintenance, repairs and cost to remove the rusted equipment will further burden the taxpayer for years.

Rob
Reply to  Informed
29 September 2020 12:28 pm

So you aren’t in favour of the seniors center at the CCC, the children’s splashpad, ball diamonds, parks of any kind, the waterfront trail/boardwalk, concert hall or art gallery – don’t these types of things add to an individuals quality of life in a community? That’s a wee bit sad actually.

Informed
Reply to  Rob
29 September 2020 1:26 pm

All of those examples you listed add value to the community as a whole. People may actually decide to move here because of them and increase the tax base. No one( in my opinion) will move here because of some outdoor fitness equipment to use in 90 degree weather.

Rob
Reply to  Informed
29 September 2020 1:59 pm

Informed – I feel that seniors are a special interest group as are ball players, hockey players, art enthusiasts, concert goers, families with children…we all pick and choose what activities we participate in and at some level we all belong to a special interest group (or two) in part based on where we are in our stage of life. You are right, no one is moving here because of any one of those examples but it is all of these things that help breath life into our community and contribute to its diversity. I suspect we agree on this…

Last edited 19 days ago by Rob
Ken Strauss
Reply to  Rob
29 September 2020 5:00 pm

According to the last census, 31.5% of Cobourg residents are 65 and over. Only 12.5% are under 14 (splash pad users). Only 17.5% are under 20 (hockey/baseball players). What percentage of residents go to the art gallery? What percentage of residents go to the concert hall? What percentage of residents use bike paths? Which of these are a “special interest group”?

Rob
Reply to  Ken Strauss
30 September 2020 3:04 pm

Ken – a community within the larger community interested in advancing their area of concern or cause. Seniors, the organized sports community, the arts community, the active families community, the marine community, the camping/travel trailer community, the farming community, etc.. are all interest groups – some formal and some through association. Wouldn’t want to forget those over 20 as part of the sports community…as we all know organized sport does not end at 20 years old, whether as a player, volunteer/coach or involved family.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Rob
30 September 2020 3:49 pm

None of the “communities” you list includes a majority of Cobourg’s residents. As I noted earlier, at over 30%, seniors come the closet to a majority of residents yet they still fall far short. Why do you feel that ALL residents should fund an expenditure that is only relevant to a very few? If everyone were to fund their personal special interests then each activity would receive exactly the appropriate level of support. By being forced to pay for the desires of dozens of tiny special interest groups, residents are burdened with high property taxes which leave many with little to fund activities that reflect their personal interests.

Rob
Reply to  Ken Strauss
30 September 2020 3:57 pm

It happens already Ken and has happened since time immemorial…

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Rob
30 September 2020 4:04 pm

Why continue to repeat past mistakes?

Rob
Reply to  Ken Strauss
30 September 2020 4:25 pm

Who says they are all mistakes – I enjoy the Frink, the CCC, the boardwalk, the ball diamonds, the flowers downtown and Christmas Magic, fireworks on Canada Day, the Ecological Garden and I look forward to the revitalized pier.

Last edited 18 days ago by Rob
Wally Keeler
Reply to  Rob
1 October 2020 1:08 pm

I enjoy the frink as well Rob. I was opposed to it when it was first proposed, but my objection was the design. In reality he design changed to a better presentation. It’s cultural impact for Cobourg was successful. Many people enjoy its ambiance in the summer and fall and its location for the farmer’s market, instead of the former dreary boring parking lot. Many families enjoy the skating downtown and it is a pleasure to see the happy faces in children. Money well spent on this project. It is a wonderful venue for some performance arts.

Last edited 17 days ago by Wally Keeler
Wally Keeler
Reply to  Rob
1 October 2020 1:12 pm

I enjoy the boardwalk as well Rob. It has provided the people of Cobourg with a means to enjoy our waterfront, especially for seniors. I know what it was like to traverse the west beach before the boardwalk was installed. It has many benches for seniors to rest their weary bones and enjoy the natural air conditioning coming off a great lake. Money well spent for the common good.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Rob
1 October 2020 1:21 pm

I enjoy the Ecology Garden as well Rob. I was the chair of the Ecology Garden Committee for a couple years and learned first hand how many people have enjoyed its ambiance. It has been a wonderful venue for student poetry readings on Earth Day. It has been a participatory venue for people picking up message rocks and leaving message rocks. It has been an educational benefit for the community at large. The number of volunteers that work on it have been numerous. It has expanded and lent beauty to the ambiance of the boardwalk. The Town provides an annual stipend, but much more money is provided by the private sector. The Town provides services from time to time, consulting the Town Arborist, providing a water tap, bicycle tie ups, and extending the sidewalk on Hibernia for the seniors of the Legion Village. Money well spent.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Rob
1 October 2020 1:33 pm

I enjoy the flowers downtown also Rob. Without them the unbeautiful mediocrity of most of the downtown buildings would be overwhelming. Port Hope has a much more beautiful downtown architecture and they work to preserve it and enhance it. Luckily for Cobourg, the trees downtown conceal the overall mediocrity of the buildings. Over my lifetime, Cobourg turned much of its downtown into blandland. For example the blond brick box of banality at the south east corner of King/Division. The single level storefronts across from Victoria Hall and the single story bank east of Victoria Hall. They give the main street that dime-a-dozen strip mall appearance. Flowers for downtown is money well spent.

Furthermore, The DBIA might think about a birdhouse contest for the downtown trees. It is an unique idea that would make Cobourg distinctive. Consult with the Town Arborist to ascertain the best way of mounting them. Consult the Willow Beach Field Naturalists to ascertain what birds to attract and how to make the birdhouses compatible.

Last edited 17 days ago by Wally Keeler
Wally Keeler
Reply to  Rob
1 October 2020 1:48 pm

I also look forward to the revitalized pier, especially electrical and water services. That pier platform can serve as a great venue for many activities, kite flying for one example, performance art for another, and perhaps a single pole platform further out for an Osprey nest. Ospreys are no threat to pets or children. It would provide a natural lesson as these great birds eat only fish and how fascinating to see these creatures diving for dinner.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Ken Strauss
1 October 2020 3:06 pm

Only 12.5% are under 14 (splash pad users).

Children pay no tax and don’t vote. They are, as you put it, a “tiny special interest group…” that burden residents with high property taxes. The children should pay for the splash pad or they can go jump in the lake; is that your solution?

Btw, swings, teeter-totters, slides, manual merry-go-rounds were a feature in Victoria Park when I was a child 70 years ago. They were there when my parents were children. There was a slide there when my grandparents visited the Park and when the tiny temporary community of American tourists visited and enjoyed. Such things are part and parcel of parks in small towns and cities alike. If you have such a deep resentment of paying for such frills that serve only a tiny interest group, perhaps you would be more comfortable living in a village, say, Precious Corners, for a nearby example, or Killaloe where there is a park in the middle of the village, but no swings, etc. Think of all the $$$$ you would save and spend on your own personal enjoyments.

JimT
Reply to  Informed
30 September 2020 9:28 am

“A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing.”― Oscar Wilde

comment image

Informed
Reply to  JimT
30 September 2020 11:42 am

PRACTICAL(adj); of or concerned with the actual doing or use of something rather than with theory and ideas.

Canuck Patriot
Reply to  Keith Oliver
29 September 2020 10:02 am

Hopefully this is one project that will get cut completely. A total waste of tax dollars and not an essential service.

Frenchy
Reply to  Canuck Patriot
29 September 2020 10:34 am

Anybody know how well the one in Port Hope was/is used?

Last edited 19 days ago by Frenchy