Town financials were a big topic at Lincoln’s committee of the whole meeting.

Presenters from KPMG were present for the annual review of the town’s financial standings, to go over the 2022 Year End and Audited Financial Statement Report.

Overall, at the July 31 meeting KPMG said it found no issues with the financials the town had put forward.

Based on capital funding needs, the accompanying staff report council said the town will need to move a significant amount of money into its reserves to maintain and replace the town’s existing assets.

The document outlines two types of reserve funds: discretionary reserve funds, which are set aside by council for specific purposes; and obligatory reserve funds, which are legally restricted by federal or provincial legislation or agreement and can only be used for its intended purpose.

As of the 2022 financial statements, the town of Lincoln had a balance of $5,268,819 in the obligatory reserve funds, and $12,280,377 in the discretionary reserve funds, bringing the reserves total to $17,549,196.

“Based on projects in progress at year-end, it is estimated that approximately $13.7 million of that balance is committed to projects already approved prior to Dec. 31, 2022 but for which costs have not yet been incurred, excluding debt,” the report said.

Due to operating pressures related to the pandemic, the report said the tax rate stabilization reserve fund was left with a deficit balance of $973,495.

To bring the balance back to zero, the treasurer was looking for authorization to transfer funds from the infrastructure reserve fund.

Also noted in the report were unfunded reduction grants that reduced collections in the year, which will need to be addressed in future years. This includes development charges.

For Mayor Sandra Easton, it was those development charges that left her feeling frustrated.

“I’m sure everybody’s heard me talk before about (how) important (it is) for us to control development charges if we can,” she said. “Either that or somebody is going to have to start giving us the check up front to deal with money that we don’t have for work that we’re going to be doing before the work itself is actually done.”

Moving forward, chief administrative officer Michael Kirkopoulos said he’s sure the legislative changes the province is making with development charges will impact the town, but it’s unclear what that impact will be.

“I think the scope of that impact is something that we need to get some further analysis on,” he said. “I know the province continues to say they’re going to make us whole. I’ve yet to see what make us whole means and how that’s going to occur.”

While she knows they have control over the situation, Easton wanted to make sure the town is looking to the future, and the potential for more unstable years.

“I hope we’re not faced with (another) pandemic that sets us down and limits revenues and the things that were required of this last one,” Kirkopoulos said. “But again, I think this last one showed us we need to be future ready. We need to be future fit.”

Looking back on 2022, Kirkopoulos said when they set out the budget, they weren’t expecting pandemic related closures to continue into April.

“We base revenue assumptions on and what we have in front of us,” he said. “I think when you have half of your year almost gone and then an opening that is very slow, those aren’t things you can plan for. I think we try to do our best.”

Treasurer Charlotte Tunikaitis added that moving forward, they will be looking at things more holistically, from all angles, to ensure that things are planned in a sustainable way.

By Abby Green, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Aug 04, 2023 at 15:41

This item reprinted with permission from   Grimsby Lincoln News   Grimsby, Ontario
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