June 10, 2014 10:20 am

City of Saskatoon projecting deficit of $1.9M in 2014

Harsh winter, enhanced snow removal impacts bottom line as the City of Saskatoon projects a year-end deficit of over $1.9 million.

File / Global News

SASKATOON – A harsh winter and enhanced snow removal operations are contributing to a projected deficit of $1.947 million for the City of Saskatoon.

Removing ice formations from city streets and snow against freeway barriers has led to an estimated $1.1 million deficit in snow removal operations.

That is expected to be offset by a $489,000 reserve balance at year-end, leaving a net impact of $580,000.

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“With the harsh winter we had last year, we made some adjustments to our snow and ice budget for this year,” said Kerry Tarasoff, the city’s director of finance, in a release.

“As the season progressed, we had to further enhance snow removal and a good portion of the deficit can be traced to those necessary costs.”

City officials are looking to reduce the impact by deferring purchases and discretionary spending and reduced contract costs later in the year.

Higher gas prices are also impacting the bottom line, with a deficit of $215,000 expected, which will be covered out of the $1 million fuel stabilization plan.

There is also a deficit with waste handling services, with increased rental costs and lower revenues contributing to a projected $382,000 deficit.

“Whenever we see deficits in our projections the Administration begins looking for ways to save or for lessening the impact of a shortfall,” said Tarasoff.

“That is why the City moved to quarterly reports: it gives us time to work on eliminating a deficit so it doesn’t have to be passed on to taxpayers at budget time.”

Officials said initiatives underway at a number of departments are expected to improve efficiency and increase effectiveness of civic operations resulting in $1.4 million in savings.

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