In 2017, the United Counties of Prescott and Russell saved more than one million dollars in salaries—$1.2 million to be exact. Those savings contributed to the UCPR finishing the fiscal year with a $1.9 million surplus.
That figure is more than ten times higher than the previous year’s surplus, which came in at $176,000.
Julie Ménard-Brault, the UCPR’s treasurer, says the salary savings are a result of positions that were left vacant, shift changes lacking a replacement, sick leave and new positions that took longer to fill.
“There’s a panoply of other factors” that contributed to the surplus, she says, and they vary for each department.
That $1.2 million was put into a reserve fund dedicated to the new residence. With a third floor being added, Ménard-Brault says the UCPR still doesn’t know how much the residence will cost.
“We’re talking many millions,” she says, “this will be a drop in the bucket.”
The remaining $700,000 was put into a reserve Ménard-Brault says is used for “unforeseen” expenses.
Changes to 2018 budget
In addition to the transfer to reserves above, Ménard-Brault presented ten pages of budget revisions at the latest Committee of the Whole meeting. The majority of these changes are related to salary and benefits adjustments.
Other changes included removing $843,200 that the UCPR was hoping to get from the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund to improve County Road 28, St. Guillaume Road in Embrun. That work has been postponed.
There’s an additional $120,000 to replace defibrillators across Prescott-Russell.
There is $160,000 being moved to a reserve for the Eastern Ontario Regional Network project to address cell gaps, for work which should start next year.
An extra $225,000 is going towards salting the roads this upcoming winter, bringing the total cost to more than $2 million.
The UCPR also received a provincial grant of almost $650,000 for renovations to a playroom for special needs children in Casselman, as well as for two new similar rooms in Rockland and Hawkesbury.
Despite all the revisions, there will be no changes to the approved tax rates.
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