City releases 2019 audited financial report

Sound financial management ensures City is well-positioned to take on future challenges

An audit of the City of Fredericton’s financial statements shows that the municipality ended 2019 with a combined surplus of $600K in its operating budgets. The City received a clean audit opinion provided by external auditors, EY.  A clean audit means that the City’s financial statements are accurate and meet all relevant accounting and legislative requirements.

“The surplus shown in our 2019 audited financial statements demonstrates that our fiscal plans are working,” said Coun. Greg Ericson, Chair of the City’s Finance & Administration Committee. “These excellent results from the 2019 audit confirm the value of the City’s financial stewardship strategies, and this year they are an especially welcome assessment given the economic challenges of the current COVID-19 pandemic. Pandemic related economic challenges in 2020 are already having a serious impact on City revenues and this has injected an unprecedented level of uncertainty into Fredericton’s financial planning and administration. However, while every city in the country stands together facing this economic crisis, the 2019 audit demonstrates that Fredericton’s legacy of responsible financial stewardship has left us stronger and more resilient in the face of these challenges than most.”

The combined surplus comes from savings in various areas (somewhat offset by new accounting for vacation and overtime accrual) as well as additional revenue and ongoing improvement and innovation efforts. Some examples include:

  • $300,000 increase in cash flow and investment management revenue above what had been budgeted
  • $215,000 increase in parking revenue above what had been budgeted
  • $430,000 increase in transit revenue above what had been budgeted
  • $250,000 in savings from building services, including efficiencies of natural gas, lights and power.

Highlights:

  • Achievements: Reduced long-term debt (resulting in a net surplus of $5M), continued investment in infrastructure, balanced budget plan, combined surplus (Water & Sewer Utility and General Fund) of $600K. The surplus in the Water & Sewer Utility operating budget will be reinvested into infrastructure renewal efforts.
  • Expenses by Program: Public Safety ($45.6M), Mobility ($30M), Liveable Community ($25.5M), Water and Wastewater ($16.6M), Economic Vitality ($7.7M), Governance & Civic Engagement ($4.7M), Environmental Stewardship ($4.7M), Sustainable Infrastructure ($2.1M), Corporate Services ($500K).
  • A total expenditure of $137.5M in goods and amortization costs, interest, and other expenses is an increase of $11.7M from 2018. The largest expenditure was on salaries and benefits at $71.8M.
  • Total revenue of $151M, with $103.9M from property taxes, and remaining revenue from sales, fines and other fees; services to other governments; community funding and equalization grants; return on investments; as well as third-party contributions from developers and the provincial and federal governments. City revenue decreased by $10M from 2018, due to a decrease in infrastructure installations funded by private development. This is a result of the infrastructure received in 2018 from the amalgamation of Chateau Heights. Revenue from sales, fines and fees increased by $0.9 million due to higher usage of public transit, parking lots and garages.
  • Projections for 2021 mean that by having a combined $600K surplus in 2019, the City will need to find a projected $1.2M for the 2021 Budget.
  • Risks: labour costs rising faster than inflation; WorksafeNB premiums rising; extreme weather events; economic state of the province; long-term effects of COVID-19; volatility in fuel costs; interest rates and US dollar; and increasing cost and demand of infrastructure renewal.
  • Strategies to mitigate risks: long-term financial plans, policies and investments; operational strategies and workforce efficiencies; and results-based management creating alignment between City Council and our community.

The City’s long-term goals allow for flexibility, adaptability, and pressing forward with a vision for the community. The Statements show prudent financial management and responsible governance by the Mayor and Council. The City’s fiscal year runs from January 1 to December 31.

For more information about the audit, visit Audited Financial Statements.