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City of Edmonton records $31M surplus in 2017

File photo of Edmonton City Hall. Heather Loney, Global News

A lack of snow, better time management of overall city staff and a sweetheart bonus from EPCOR has all added up to a tidy $31-million surplus as the City of Edmonton has closed the budget books on 2017.

A report that will be reviewed by city council on Tuesday recommends putting most of the money into a reserve fund.

“The majority of the surplus comes from $9.9 million lower than budgeted for snow and ice control costs,” Stacey Padbury, the city’s deputy treasurer, said on Thursday.

READ MORE: How does Edmonton snow clearing compare to other Canadian cities?

Watch below: On March 5, 2018, Fletcher Kent filed this report about how Edmonton snow-removal efforts compare to those in other cities.

Click to play video: 'How do Edmonton’s snow-clearing efforts compare to other cities?'
How do Edmonton’s snow-clearing efforts compare to other cities?

There were other big savings that added up as well. Eight-point-one million dollars came from saved labour costs from unfilled vacancies, leaves and reduced overtime.

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“We’ve been working to manage overtime on an annual basis to bring overtime numbers down as best we could,” Padbury said.

The third-highest contributor to the surplus was the dividend from EPCOR.

“Our dividend is $6.6 million higher,” Padbury said. “It was higher than what was expected when we set the budget at the beginning of the year.”

While the stabilization fund will get topped up, $7.9 million will be spent in 2018. It’s money that was earmarked for projects last year, but for one reason or another, it wasn’t spent.

“Council considered $2.2 million for a bus network redesign project,” Padbury said.

Other high-level planning projects are also getting a couple of million dollars that is being carried over after council last year approved spending surplus money, but the work wasn’t ready yet to go ahead.

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