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Banff's 2020 budget ends with $127 surplus in difficult COVID-19 year

Banff's 2020 year-end financial statements to come council on April 26
Town of Banff
Banff town hall. RMO FILE PHOTO

BANFF – Banff’s 2020 operating budget came down to the pennies.

Town of Banff officials say the net final results in the year-ending financial statements on a $42 million operating budget show an unrestricted surplus of $127.10.

“There were several offsetting variances that contributed to the final results,” said Andrea Stuart, The Town of Banff’s manager of finances, in a report to council.

The Town spent $630,000 on its response to COVID-19 in 2020, which included, the temporary pedestrian zone on Banff Avenue, Bear Street winter pedestrian zone and outdoor seating on Wolf Street.

Other big COVID expenses included safety ambassadors and a significant communications campaign.

Some of the major year-end financial variances include:

  • $3.78 million decrease in business licence revenue from budget, which is fully offset by a decrease in contracted services to Banff and Lake Tourism.
  • $1.47 million decrease in consumption charges, fully offset by a decrease in transfers to the water, sewer capital reserves for the utilities department, and  offset by reduced expenditures in the resource recovery department.
  • A $6.1 million increase in operating government grants of $6.1 million, including $6 million from the Municipal Operating Support Transfer (MOST) grant for COVID-19 and $100,000 to Settlement Support and other community service grants.
  • $6.24 million increase in capital government grants, which were transferred to capital reserves.
  • Increase in wages, benefits and overtime of $209,000 over COVID-19 budget, initially set at $16.68 million, is due to increases in grant funded positions and saving shifts between reserve and tax-funded positions.

Administration is recommending council transfer the $127 surplus to the budget stabilization reserve.

Discussion on the year-end financial statements was postponed on April 12 due to council's lengthy agenda; however, will be presented at the next regular meeting scheduled for April 26.