Projected operations results for county look favourable

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The County of Essex has projected its results of operations for 2018 and the results are looking favourable.

However, its treasurer notes there is some work to be done to keep everything on course.

Essex County council received a report from director of financial services/treasurer Sandra Zwiers with Zwiers informing county council that corporate operations are projected to be in a surplus position of $625,000 by the end of 2018.

“This report is based on activity as of the end of June,” she told county council last Wednesday night.

In her report to county council, Zwiers said the projections are “predicated on a number of significant assumptions.” Those include favourable resolutions to various outstanding wage-related matters within collective bargaining groups, winter control activities returning to the five-year average level for the early fall and early winter period of 2018, social service caseloads and social housing costs remaining favourable, no significant tax write-offs and improved returns on investments within Essex County’s investment portfolio.

“There are no deficits,” she said. “All departments are performing well.”

The community services department is forecast to have no surplus or deficit, with Zwiers’ report noting county council approved an increase in the per diem rate for Housing with Supports’ contracted service providers.

“This recommendation matched the approval made by the City of Windsor, effective April 1, 2018 and April 1, 2019,” the report stated. “Subsequent to these council approvals, the Corporation (of the County of Essex) and the City of Windsor have been working to confirm the flow of funds and revised funding levels. The Corporation is currently awaiting confirmation of those details from the City in order to better ascertain the impacts these funding changes will have on our operations.”

The Sun Parlor Home in Leamington is projected to carry a $60,000 positive variance with that being attributed to additional subsidies being passed after the passing of the 2018 budget.

“The largest contributor to increased subsidy levels relates to funding our internal behavioral supports program (approximately $40,000),” Zwiers stated in her report to county council. “Savings in life enrichment and food and nutritional programs have also been identified as marginal factors contributing to the projected surplus in long-term care services.”

There are no surpluses or deficits forecast for the Emergency Medical Services (EMS), library services, general government or infrastructure services. Regarding the latter, Zwiers reported that department was originally projected to be in a surplus position of $650,000 but county council was presented a report to address an emergency culvert repair on County Road 23, near Essex.

The external commitments department is projected to have a surplus position of $565,000 at the end of the calendar year.

“Estimates by the City of Windsor indicate a savings in social assistance of $495,000,” she wrote, adding Ontario Works caseloads are trending lower than budget. There are also savings in social housing of $70,000, Zwiers added, due to a reduction in subsidy payments.

“The Corporation’s projected financial position is based on six months of activity with significant uncertainty regarding budget performance for social services, social housing, Emergency Medical Services, transportation services, investment earnings and outstanding contract/wage settlements and pay/internal equity adjustments,” Zwiers concluded. “Variance from projections in anyone of these operations could have a significant impact on the Corporation’s financial position for 2018. Financial services, with the assistance of all departments, continue to look for opportunities for reductions and cost savings and will carefully monitor operations and report accordingly.”

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