Village five year financial plan

Burns Lake council adopted its five year financial plan last week.

The Village of Burns Lake Five Year Financial Plan Bylaw #955, 2015 outlines the municipality’s anticipated revenues and expenditures for the years 2015 through 2019, inclusive. The document predicts that general operating fund expenditures will average approximately $4.5 million each year for the next half decade, while general operating fund revenues are expected to peak this year at $6.978 million before declining to $4.8 million in 2019. The difference between the two will in part be contributions to capital.

The cost of operating the village’s sewer and water systems is expected to remain relatively static during the next five years. Water operating fund expenditures are expected to average $490,000 per year over that time frame.

The cost of providing municipal properties with sewer services is expected to rise slightly over the same period, from a 2015 total of $428,593 to slightly more than $447,000 in 2019.

The bylaw also reflects the municipality’s plan to undertake significant improvements to local infrastructure in the next few years. Five-year capital expenditures on buildings, equipment, and streets are expected to total $15.1 million. While equipment purchases are expected to total $2.158 million during the period – and include such items as a new Zamboni, garbage truck, and miscellaneous pieces of equipment in the arena – the majority of the money (nearly $13 million) will likely be spent on village streets.

The proposed 8th Ave/Center Street corridor project is expected to eat up most of the capital spending on streets, and will include new asphalt and other improvements in the area. More than $8 million in street improvements are slated for 2016 and 2017.

The village is counting grants and similar funding sources to pay for most of its general operating capital projects. Over the next five years, the municipality is hopes that leases and/or grants will provide more than $13.3 million of the $15 million required. Municipal general revenue and capital/operating reserves are expected to contribute the remaining $1.8 million.

Chief Administrative Officer Sheryl Worthing acknowledged that the village is relying heavily on outside funding sources to pay for major works like the 8th Ave./Center Street Corridor Project. “The municipality does not generate enough tax revenue to cover a project of this size,” she explained.

Burns Lake council also plans to spend an additional $3.3 million on much needed improvements to its water and sewer systems in the next five years.

While the largest single expenditure is expected to be replacement of the village’s aging 5th Ave. water tower in 2017 ($2 million), an additional $1.3 million will be spent on general upgrades to both systems – most of it related to improving subsurface infrastructure in the 8th Ave./Center Street corridor.

Again, the municipality doesn’t have adequate financial reserves to pay for these sewer and water improvements. According to the financial plan, council hopes that grants, leases, or debentures will provide 90 per cent of the required funding.

If grant funds aren’t forthcoming, the municipality will likely have to borrow to complete the work. “If borrowing is necessary, it would not impact property taxes, but we would have to raise utility rates or frontage taxes,” explained Worthing.

The municipality has already applied for nearly $3 million in federal funding to assist with upgrades to the 8th Avenue and Center Street corridor.

At its regular meeting April 14, council gave formal support to a pair of applications to the gas tax Strategic Priorities Fund, one for road rehabilitation in the 8th Ave/Center Street corridor, the other for storm sewer works. The municipality hopes these applications will generate $2,833,039 of the estimated $3,078,699 required to complete Phase 1 of the project.

Village council adopted its latest five year financial plan at a short public meeting May 13. A public hearing was held a day earlier to give citizens a chance to discuss it, but the only attendee was a member of the media.