The City of Chestermere wrapped up 2022 with a significant surplus.
City Director of Corporate Services Kim Wallace presented the fourth quarter financial update to councillors at the May 16 council meeting.
Wallace explained that the city closed out 2022 with $52.5 million in revenue, and $46.2 million in expenses, resulting in a $6.2 million surplus.
“Council and administration did an outstanding job in 2022. Not only were significant budget cuts handled with expertise by administration, but the commitment of superior services also remained a priority. Records were broken in development service and growth, plus significant investment in fire and safety was committed to,” Wallace said.
Wallace attributed the organizational restructure of council, and the three Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) model to the surplus.
“Increased efficiencies and reduced operational bloat, while maintaining a high level of service for residents resulted in operational savings of $6.2 million,” Wallace said. “Administration’s in-house expertise reduced the need for contracting and consulting services.”
The $46.2 million in expenses included salaries, contracted and general services, legal, consulting services, repair and maintenance, goods and supplies, and transfers to other organizations.
“Where we saved, and that was contributed greatly to our surplus is in our expenses,” Wallace said.
The city’s $52.5 million in revenue included community growth, corporate services, community operations and safety, and council and strategic advisory revenue.
“A significant amount of that came from our growth and development department,” Wallace said. “Administration’s in-house expertise reduced the need for contracting and consulting services.
After an analysis, council made revisions to the previous budget including removing $2 million in tax residents would have had to pay due to property value increasing, removing $1.6 million from the outgoing council’s proposed budget, initiating $1.1 million in tax cuts in 2022, and adding four RCMP officers and six firefighters, resulting in $13.3 million in found savings.
“Council was not comfortable with the outgoing council and previous Chief Financial Officer (CFO) proposed budget. They felt the budget was unreliable and had significant errors. It appeared that there was underreported revenue and exaggerated expenses,” Wallace said. “This council did an analysis on their budget, found significant savings and adopted a new budget which in the end resulted in a surplus.”
Wallace explained there are three main contributors to the financial success of council in 2022, such as having business savvy councillors, the tri-CAO model, and having the confidence of investors.
“This council consists of a unique blend of business professionals that analyze, question, and require information that make critical decisions for the city’s growth and success,” Wallace said. “We see it in the numbers, people and businesses are choosing to invest in Chestermere more than anywhere else in Alberta.”
She added, the tri-CAO model allows each division within the city to manage departments, resulting in increased services at a lower cost to residents.
“We broke development records, have a successful leadership model that is being watched across Canada, and have proven the efficiencies along with expertise result in significant revenue saving effectiveness,” Wallace said.