Moose Jaw City Council received its audited financial statements for 2023 and it was not good news. 

The City of Moose Jaw operations fund operated under a deficit of over $1.4 million. The city's general revenue fund had $57.86 million in revenue and $59.28 million in expenditures to make up the deficit. 

The operating budget deficit will flow into the city's accumulated surplus, leaving the accumulated surplus with a deficit of $1.2 million. 

"I think city administration and city council will need to carefully monitor future years' budgets and costs in order to rebuild that accumulated surplus as it is effectively wiped out now after two consecutive years of major deficits," said Director of Financial Services Brian Acker. 

Because the city can't run a deficit, $151,990 was overbudgeted for snow removal. Drawing this money down would still leave the snow removal reserve with $770,576.  

The police budget has a shortfall of $724,192 in 2023. The police's accumulated surplus is $416,511, leaving an unfunded shortfall of $307,681. The police had enough funds in the Police Service Building capital budget to cover the downfall. 

"We have been able to do the capital work that we intended to do. We were putting money away for future projects. This will delay them by a couple of years, but there is no urgency to them. So, we can quite comfortably move that money over without an impact on any critical issues within our organization," said Chief Rick Bourassa. 

The remaining $782,006 would be withdrawn from the city's long-term investment pool. 

Municipal taxation came in $487,000 more than budgeted in 2023 due to additional assessment growth in 2023 that resulted in additional tax revenue.   

Licenses and permits were down $173,000. The majority of that came from building permits that were budgeted at $600,000 but actually came in at $476,200. 

The city brought in $165,000 less in revenue from fines and penalties due to budgeting for additional parking meter fine revenue in 2023 which was not collected. 

Investment earnings, penalties and surcharges and service charges saw a decrease in revenue due to the general revenue fund being overdrawn for most of the year. 

Contributions, grants and subsidies were down $208,000 from the budget due to less administrative overhead being received from capital projects in 2023 resulting in a number projects not moving forward. 

Other contributions came out to $218,000 ahead of budget because of the partial funding of the police service deficit being credited in this area. Overall, revenues were $137,000 less than budgeted. 

"There needs to be identified some other additional funding sources. What those are, I'm not sure. I think certainly moving forward municipalities, provincial and federal governments need to identify some other sources of funding for municipalities so simply increasing tax revenue wouldn't always be the answer going forward I don't think," said Acker. 

General government expenditures were about $733,000 less than budgeted as all city departments found savings. Protection to Persons and Property was $500,000 over budget related to the police service being $724,000 over budget. 

Public works was over budget by about $810,000. The majority of expenses came from roadway maintenance, snow operations, gravel roadways, workshop and fleet. Parks and recreation were also $219,000 over budget due mainly to parks and outdoor maintenance areas. 

Provisions and allowances came in $360,000 more than budgeted mainly due to the budgeting for vacancies and other salary-related matters that actually show up in other areas of the city. 

Public accounts 

City council was also presented with the audited public accounts for 2023, which include remuneration for city council, city employees and the Moose Jaw Police Commission. 

Councillor Doug Blanc, Jamey Logan and Kim Robinson received regular remuneration of $35,839.44. Councillors Heather Eby, Crystal Froese and Dawn Luhning received remuneration of $35,813.88. Mayor Clive Tolley received $110,834.52. 

Council expenses included $1,846.93 for Blanc, $1,688.96 for Froese, $50 for Logan, $1,198.46 for Robinson and $7,791.30 for Tolley. 

City employee remuneration saw Fire Chief Rod Montgomery receive the highest pay at $175,429.20. The highest remuneration of the police commission was Chief Rick Bourassa at $201,833.21.