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The exterior of Saint John City Hall is pictured in this file photo. Image: staff photo

Saint John records $8K deficit in 2022

By Brad Perry Mar 28, 2023 | 6:12 AM

Saint John ended 2022 with a small deficit of just over $8,600, according to unaudited figures.

That is just a drop in the bucket compared to the overall budget of $164 million for the year.

Craig Lavigne, the city’s comptroller, recently presented the numbers to finance committee members.

“Despite the cost overruns in our winter programs, our increases in fuel, insurance and many other goods in 2022, the risks and the cost overruns were managed within our overall budget envelope.”

The public works and transportation department was over budget by just over $2 million.

Lavigne said that was mainly due to more expensive fuel and equipment parts, and the city using more road salt than expected. Road salt was $547,000, or 168 per cent, higher than budgeted.

Solid waste management was over budget by $356,000 due to the rollout of the city’s new solid waste program.

The transit subsidy was also higher by nearly $217,000 as a result of the “significant cost of diesel fuel and insurance costs,” said Lavigne’s presentation to committee member.

The $56.2-million budget for public safety was under by around $75,000, in part due to various vacancies within the city’s police force and public safety communications centre.

Growth and community services was under budget by more than $557,000. Lavigne said that was mainly due to the accommodation levy transferred to Envision Saint John, which was $804,000 more than budgeted.

“It is really great news that we’re overbudget because it means that the businesses are recovering, hotels are recovering,” he said.

Utilities and infrastructure services were about $725,000 over budget, while strategic services ($588,998) and corporate services ($542,586) were under budget.

The results do not include a $2.4-million positive adjustment following an actuarial benefit review. According to staff, it is a non-cash adjustment which the city has no control over.

Coun. David Hickey, who sits on the finance committee, said he was pleased with the results.

“To be within one per cent of your budget projection is really impressive,” said Hickey.

The audited consolidated financial statements are expected to come before the committee in the coming weeks.

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