The City of Saskatoon is walking back earlier projections of a budget deficit for 2015.
The administration had predicted a $1.2 million deficit in its second quarter forecast earlier this year, but third quarter results presented Monday to executive committee painted a different picture.
Citing savings on fuel and the impact of better-than-normal weather on the city’s construction projects and road maintenance, the report stated that the city can now expect a balanced budget for 2015.
More money from the province also played a role, with a Government of Saskatchewan grant creating a surplus of just over $600,000 for the Saskatoon Police Service.
The balanced budget comes despite the city taking about $1.9 million in combined losses from parking meter revenue and parking fines due to complications with the new parking pay station system that replaced the old coin-powered meters.
— Councillors voted to meet with the board of police commissioners in January to discuss the board’s makeup and governance. Currently, the board of police commissioners has five members; two appointed members of the public, the mayor, and two city councilors. One idea being put forward is a potential move to a seven member panel, with a four member majority going to members of the public, and the mayor and two councilors keeping their seats.
— Members also debated changes to the executive committee’s functions and makeup. Currently, the executive committee is made up of all ten city councilors and the mayor. That has led to concerns about duplication of work between the two bodies. An administration report looking at how various Canadian cities structure their committees led to four options: change nothing, abolish the committee outright and move to two council meetings a month, have the executive committee made up of a smaller group of councillors picked by the mayor, or change the committee’s name and narrow its mandate.
While the idea of abolishing the executive committee altogether in favour of a second full council meeting originally had some traction, most councillors ultimately felt it was better to keep a more informal forum that didn’t carry the restrictions of a full council meeting. The committee voted 9-2 to send a recommendation to council that would see the committee’s name changed from ‘executive committee’ to ‘governance and priorities committee.’ The name change would reflect a narrower scope of responsibility for the committee, with some of its responsibilities distributed between the city’s four standing policy committees.