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Public Works - Levy - Quarter 4 Financial Update (2016)

  Year to Date (in thousands of dollars)
Budget Actual Budget vs Actual Variance
Favourable/(Unfavourable)
Expenses
Compensation   $14,883 $13,316 $1,567 11.8%
Administrative   2,108 1,617 490 30.3%
Operational & Supply   12,972 12,846 127 1.0%
Occupancy & Infrastructure   617 578 40 6.8%
Equipment, Vehicles, Technology   2,053 1,781 273 15.3%
Partnership, Rebate, Exemption   166 60 107 178.1%
Total Expenses   32,800 30,198 2,602 8.6%
Revenues
Federal & Provincial Grants   (675) - (675) 0.0%
By-Law Charges & Sales   (3,161) (2,471) (690) 27.9%
Other Revenue   (1,495) (2,121) 625 (29.5%)
Total Revenues   (5,332) (4,592) (740) 16.1%
Intercompany Charges
Intercompany Charges   (2,171) (2,144) (27) 1.2%
Total Intercompany Charges   (2,171) (2,144) (27) 1.2%
Net Expenditure (Revenue) Before Transfers & Indirect Allocations   25,297 23,462 1,835 7.8%
Transfers
Transfers from Funds   (869) (796) (74) 9.2%
Transfers to Funds   - 604 (604) (100.0%)
Expense Allocations to Capital   (200) (147) (53) 36.2%
Total Transfers   (1,069) (338) (731) 216.1%
Indirect Allocations & Debt
Indirect Allocations   4,426 3,519 907 25.8%
Capital Financing Allocation   26,829 26,508 320 1.2%
Total Indirect Allocations & Debt   31,254 30,027 1,227 4.1%
Net Expenditure (Revenue) After Transfers & Indirect Allocation   $55,482 $53,150 $2,332 4.4%

Variance Analysis (in thousands of dollars)

Public Works Levy operated at a surplus after indirect allocations of $2,332. The following factors contributed to this surplus:

Compensation

The favourable variance of $1,567 is primarily due to: lower than anticipated usage of winter seasonal staff due to the mild winter conditions that were experienced; decreased overtime costs; and delays in filling vacant positions, not filling vacancies and/or filling vacancies at rates less than budgeted. Of this unspent budget, $75 has been committed to the Niagara Wind Farm project and is included in the 2016 encumbrances reported in Transfers to Funds.

Administrative

The favourable variance of $490 is primarily due to: a $751 decrease in consulting work concentrated in Transportation Planning due to staffing shortages and lower general administrative costs of $166, offset by an increase in legal expenses of $308 mainly associated with the contamination cleanup required for the Helena Street chemical spill and other professional services of $119. Of this unspent budget, $211 has been committed to Transportation Planning services and system upgrades, and is included in the 2016 encumbrances reported in Transfers to Funds.

Operational & Supply

The favourable variance of $127 is a result of: lower than anticipated usage of winter sand, winter salt and organic de-icing material totalling $398 due to the mild winter conditions experienced; $845 lower than budgeted other program specific services expenditures; and a decrease of $93 in other program specific supplies and material; offset by increased signal and sign maintenance material costs of $875 and higher than budgeted costs for Niagara Specialized Transit (NST) and Inter-Municipal Transit (IMT) services due to increased ridership of $334. $764 of the unspent budget for other program specific services was committed to the Merrittville Bike Path project, $318 of which included in the 2016 encumbrances reported in Transfers to Funds. The remainder is offset by the deferral of provincial funding.

Equipment, Vehicles, Technology

The favourable variance of $273 is primarily due to lower than expected fuel costs and a decrease in spending on equipment and vehicle repairs.

Partnership, Rebate, Exemption

The favourable variance of $107 is due to lower than expected annual grants to local municipalities associated with the Port Robinson Ferry for $33 and storm sewers and culverts for $74.

Federal & Provincial Grants

The unfavourable variance of $675 is due to: limited progress of the Phase 2 Study on the South Niagara East-West Arterial Corridor resulting in lower than anticipated funding provided under the Investing in Ontario Fund of $350 and the deferral of the Merrittville Bike Path project resulting in lower than anticipated provincial funding under the Ontario Municipal Cycling Infrastructure Program of $325.

By-Law Charges & Sales Revenue

The unfavourable variance of $690 is due to: lower than anticipated signal maintenance revenues for work performed for local area municipalities of $986; lower by-law charges of $91; and lower than anticipated other sales of $35; offset by increased fare revenues of $352 for NST and IMT services due to increased ridership.

Other Revenue

The favourable variance of $625 is due to: fleet disposal proceeds from the sale of snow plows being $310 in excess budget; higher proceeds of $194 from licenses and permits mainly related to Niagara Wind Farms; and other unbudgeted expense reimbursements totalling $121.

Transfer to Funds

The unfavourable variance of $604 relates to 2016 encumbrances.

Community Impacts & Achievements

As part of the Region's Transportation Capital Program, 65.2 lane kms of roadways, associated with the total 1,569 lane km length of the regional road network, were either resurfaced or reconstructed in 2016 - 50.4 lane kms were resurfaced as part of the annual roads resurfacing program (9.4 lane kms of carry over work from 2015 and 41 lane kms under the 2016 roads resurfacing program) and 14.8 lane kms were reconstructed or added as part of other capital projects.

The Transportation Master Plan (TMP) has received tremendous public and stakeholder interest and input which will result in cost, policy and process implications on transportation infrastructure and services in Niagara. Investigation and analysis of external resourcing and expertise support is currently being conducted to advance the TMP into 2017.

Niagara Specialized Transit (NST) fare increase was reconsidered and remained unchanged during 2016 to align with the upcoming fare parity with conventional transit (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act legislation). The NST ridership surged during the second half of the year. A number of service changes were developed in 2016 to bring the NST service in parity with the conventional inter-municipal transit service including fare harmonization and enabling trips other than medical, education and employment.

Niagara Region Transit (NRT) introduced enhancements to the routes travelling between Niagara Falls and St. Catharines. These improvements were designed to eliminate duplication between NRT and routes offered by St. Catharines Transit and Niagara Falls Transit, as well as create more efficient travel between the two cities. The existing route 50/55 that connects Niagara Falls and St. Catharines now provides direct access to Brock University with extended hours. This route replaced the previous Brock Rapid service provided by Niagara Falls Transit. Route 50/55 now connects Brock University, Niagara Region Headquarters, the Pen Centre and Thorold.

In addition to the changes to route 50/55, NRT introduced a new 40/45 route. This new route connects Niagara Falls and St. Catharines with stops in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Stops along Route 40/45 include the Outlet Collection at Niagara, the Niagara College Glendale Campus in Niagara-on-the-Lake and Fairview Mall in St. Catharines where travellers can connect with GO Transit Bus service. The new 40/45 route replaces the previous Glendale Campus route provided by Niagara Falls Transit.

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