Efforts to keep tight control of discretionary spending and bring in more revenue have had results, according to the 2016-2017 audited financial statements presented by Grant Thornton to the municipal council Sept. 25.
The municipality showed an operating surplus of $208,865 based on revenues of $6,632,335 and expenses of $6,423,470.
Warden Penny Smith says she is pleased with the report.
“Council established some clear and aggressive plans during the year to invest in our community while minimizing discretionary spending,” she says. “Our staff deserves credit for spending only when necessary and for working hard to increase our revenue while continuing to provide quality services to our community.”
The municipality sold 42 properties at public auction and aggressively pursued a tax collection program that led to a large increase in revenue.
The municipality was also able to bring its capital debt total to zero.
Being debt-free will allow the municipality to focus on its next project: the multi-million dollar new municipal administration building that is now in the planning stages.
Currently, the municipality is securing tenants for a new building from provincial and federal service agencies.
It's hoped that the financial report will give the municipality a better ranking through the Nova Scotia Department of Municipal Affairs.
In 2015-2016, the department released a list of municipal financial indicators for each municipality in the province. The municipality had failed four of the 15 indicators but Smith is optimistic the next report will see the Municipality of Shelburne reduced to two.
“These two reds are challenging for all rural municipalities as they deal with requirements for a large commercial tax assessment and depreciation of capital assets,” says Smith.
The two financial indicators that will potentially be red for the upcoming fiscal year are the commercial property assessment and depreciated assets.