Shopping list for Port Coquitlam budget surplus
Several projects will be moving ahead sooner than expected in Port Coquitlam after the city managed an $858,000 budget surplus in 2011.
Staff vacancies and lower than expected snow removal costs accounted for most of the excess funds, according to Mindy Smith, the city's director of corporate services.
Because municipalities cannot legally run a deficit, Smith said staff must budget conservatively. Additional funds from investments or an increase in permit application fees can often push the city's financial plan into the black.
"We only tax how much we need," she said. "We do budget conservatively and we can't budget for a deficit. Because of that it is never going to be perfectly even."
The money will be used to pay for several projects that likely would not have been able to move forward this year. They include:
• costs associated with webcasting council meetings — $19,000
• contingency funding — $50,000
• additional funding for communication services — $10,000
• infrastructure reserve contribution (2012) — $360,000
• costs associated with starting a business task force — $40,000
• PoCo's 100th birthday celebrations — $30,000
• a customer service office at Hyde Creek — $19,000.
After all the new expenses are tallied PoCo will still have a surplus of about $330,000.
Smith said that money will could be used for several other projects, including upgrades to the council chamber's audio/visual equipment, the completion of the fire burn building and a study into new policing models for the RCMP.