The Town of Hawkesbury finished the year 2021 with an $3,343,774 annual operating surplus, according to a summary of an audit of the municipal financial statements received by council on May 30. The annual operating surplus in 2020 had been $9,315,947. The financial statements are reviewed for the town by accounting firm MNP (formerly Deloitte).
Total revenue for the Town of Hawkesbury for 2021 had originally been budgeted at $28,168,105, but the actual amount was $24,392,301. In 2021, net taxation revenue was $6,445,645, but had been budgeted at $6,696,698. The net tax revenue is the amount the town receives from its own property tax rates after the amounts to be remitted to school boards are subtracted. Federal and provincial transfer payment and grant revenue was also less than budgeted. The town had anticipated it would receive $1,913,559 from the Government of Canada in 2021, but instead received $704,927. In 2021, $5,332,190 was anticipated from the Province of Ontario, but the town instead received $4,036,586.
Municipal expenses increased in three areas in 2021. The Town of Hawkesbury spent $2,715,664 on general government costs in 2021 but had originally budgeted $2,367,287. Transportation services were originally anticipated to be $2,305,412 but were actually $2,882,572. Environmental services expenses had the most significant increase in 2021. They were originally projected to be $4,695,179 but the actual amount was $6,548,702
However, expenses for the Town of Hawkesbury did decrease for recreation and planning and zoning in 2021.
With respect to financial assets, the town finished 2021 with $17,961,747—a decrease from $18,533,789 in 2020. Liabilities also decreased to $19,173,796 from $20,464,063 in 2020.
Altogether, when revenues, expenditures, investments, and capital are combined, the Town of Hawkesbury finished 2021 with $6,422,423 in cash. In 2020, the town had ended the year with $8,745,922.
An expenditure the Town of Hawkesbury is having to contend with in 2022 is the cost of insurance. On May 30, council approved renewing the municipal insurance policy with BFL for 2022-2023 at a cost of $545,435 plus the eight per cent provincial portion of the HST.
A report from Clerk Myriam Longtin explains the present insurance market conditions would not have made putting the municipal insurance out for public tender advisable. Insurers have been re-underwriting their portfolios in recent years which is resulting in higher costs. Risks associated with climate change and cyberattacks are also factors.
The BFL cost for 2022-2023 is 19.8 per cent or $97,141.90 more than for 2021-2022.
“Essentially, we do not have a great choice,” remarked Mayor Paula Assaly.