Muskoka should not be facing a deficit in its tax-supported operating budget this year, according to Muskoka’s commissioner of finance.
Stephen Cairns, commissioner of finance and corporate services for the District of Muskoka, said there are some variances in the budget that need to be monitored this year, particularly an increase in Ontario Works and a decrease in PAO revenues, but he doesn’t expect the year will end up in a deficit.
“The caseload (for Ontario Works) is better than expected, but the cost per case is going up, that’s where the issues are. July was more favourable than we expected, but we don’t know how long that trend will last,” Cairns said.
In the first quarter of the year the district used two collecting agencies to collect overdue fines, bringing in $150,000 in arrears.
“That hasn’t continued, I guess they got the low-hanging fruit,” Cairns said.
The district is continuing to pursue overdue fines, though some of the cases are more complicated and may take more time.
Cairns said there are still unknowns in the budget outcome such as supplementary taxes, supplementary write-offs and police adjustments.
“I’d say those have the largest unknown impact on the bottom line,” Cairns said.
MPAC (Municipal Property Assessment Corporation) trends suggest the supplementary taxes and supplementary write-offs will be obtainable, he said.
There are also some seasonal influences such as environmental, lagoons, the airport and the locks. Cairns said he does not foresee any changes in those compared to last year.
“Talking to our departments, we seem to be at last year’s data,” Cairns said.