This post looks at where Publics Works (aka Operations) receives and spends its budget. The big budget items, beyond improvements to infrastructure such as the Forest Street rebuild, are related to roads, sidewalks and garbage. The tables below summarize revenue and expenses by the assigned cost areas. (Note – the 2016 budget is set up a little differently than 2015 and earlier, so changes in revenues and costs may not be directly comparable.)

Operations and Public Works Budget

Operations and Public Works Budget 2016 Waste Management

Waste Managmeent Table 2016

These are significant expenses for things that probably never crossed your mind, for example catch basin management – $59,455. In some ways these expense assignments are a little bit artificial. There are a defined number of individuals who are paid a defined amount annually, and the budget exercise in part involves assigning these costs, plus material, equipment and contracted services, to the many responsibilities of Public Works. It wouldn’t be as easy as suggesting the Town forgo Street Sweeping and save $26K. These are mostly fixed costs that would need to be assigned to other cost centres. But cut enough activities and there would probably be the opportunity to reduce staff and the associated costs.

A few observations:

  1. Snow management costs on the order of $800,000 to $1 million annually.
  2. Waste management costs the Town close to $1 million per year.
  3. Government grants, mostly Provincial, cover a large portion of the Operations budget. Although the dollar value of the grants has dropped over the years, there is no question that a portion of our provincial tax dollars are being returned to Parry Sound.
  4. It’s interesting to see that most of the Operations costs are offset by the Federal and Provincial grants, but not Waste Management. It’s an accounting issue I guess, or perhaps Waste Management expenses aren’t eligible for grant coverage.
  5. On the topic of accounting issues, I believe that the Operations and Public Works budget includes the costs for the various capital equipment they use day-to-day, i.e., snow plows, pick up trucks and such.
  6. The expense budget for Operations and Public Works budget is effectively reduced relative to 2015. This is not related to cost savings or such, but rather reflects that a number of staff from this department have been transferred over to Parks and Recreation. (Sounds like a great title for a TV show.)