An Edmonton winter that saw significantly less snow helped the city spend about $64 million less on operations than it budgeted for in 2016.
Roughly 40 per cent of those savings was thanks to a warmer winter and less money spent on snow and ice removal on the roads.
The city was able to find an additional $36.3 million in savings, making up the remaining 60 per cent. That amount is 1.5 per cent of the overall 2016 operational budget, which is the same savings the city was able to find last year.
“Mother Nature clearly gave us a helping hand this past year,” said Todd Burge, the city’s deputy manager and CFO. “However, the results overall show that we continue to manage our finances on residents’ behalf for long-term sustainability, flexibility and responsiveness to emerging needs.”
In November, the city estimated it could see a surplus of $28.4 million, nearly half of which would be saved from the snow and ice removal budget.
A report to city council on Thursday detailed the full (unaudited) year-end results.
Highlights from that financial report include:
- City spent $8.3 million less than budgeted due to personal factors like unfilled vacancies
- City spent $5.9 million less for consulting costs due to rescheduled projects
- City spent $4.3 million less for contractors due to less demand and more work being done in-house
The $64-million surplus will be put in the Financial Stabilization Reserve. Funds can then be directed by council to several possible areas, including expenses “committed but not utilized” in 2016, fleet services vehicle replacement reserve or the Cornerstones II program for 2017.