COLLINGWOOD – Report cards always come with surprises.
Town council was no different this week as councillors received the first quarter variance report from town treasurer Marjory Leonard.
Leonard cautioned councillors that projections this early into the fiscal year were speculative and that if there was a uniformity of operations throughout the year, that they could expect 25% of expenses be reflected in the report. For the most part, that was the case.
The one variance was Public Works that had to deal with early Spring storms into April, but Leonard assured council that those kind of expenses should not be seen again until the fourth quarter.
The eye-opener was in unbudgeted expenses.
Leonard reminded council that the budget was set five months ago and to-date Collingwood has incurred costs in legal fees and other expenses of more than $104,000 in battling the wind turbine project in Clearview Township near the Collingwood Airport. The town spent more than $83,000 last year fighting the project with the funds being charged as an unbudgeted expense.
Anticipating a legal battle on this issue, council budgeted $100,000 this year to come from reserves to cover anticipated costs.
The Environmental Review Tribunal is hearing arguments to halt or alter the plans for the Fairfield Wind project over the next two weeks in Collingwood Town Hall chambers.
The town’s legal bills are already overbudget, and have committed another $75,000 for the appeal.
“This unbudgeted amount will have to be funded from somewhere,” Leonard added.
In all, Leonard said, council should be aware that they have committed more than $270,000 in unbudgeted items, maintenance and otherwise and that the proposed financial contribution to the redevelopment of the Collingwood General and Marine Hospital has not been determined yet.
“I just pointed this out so that council is aware and we will have to pay for those items through some of the reserves that we have,” said Leonard.
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