A former Silver City mayor has tipped his hat to the current city council over a $1.5 million surplus the City of Trail now sports.
Sandy Santori—mayor for nine years from 1990-1996, and 1999-2001—said the city is sitting pretty after its independent financial audit last month and that means the municipal body can now move in directions most governments fear to tread.
With the public release Monday of the city’s 2011 Annual Report, including audited financial statements, and the Statements of Financial Information on its website, people can now follow the tax dollar and chart council’s prudence.
“Now this (surplus) gives them some other options: beautify the city, pursue economic initiatives. Those are things that generally take a back seat when communities are strapped for cash,” Santori said.
“I think the general public wants to see a more vibrant and rejuvenated downtown core and that’s also a high priority for the city.”
During a June general government and finance committee meeting, council declared it would be moving ahead with a few projects—including the Gateway phase of the Trail Downtown Plan—and creating a rainy day fund.
Santori said the city’s current financial position was not a luxury, but a duty to its taxpayers.
“If you are not fiscally responsible, at some point the community is going to pay for it,” he said. “(A surplus) doesn’t need to be an anomaly. It has to do with staying within your budget, staying within your means and having a good read of the public in terms of what things can be put off to give a good financial position down the road.”
Sometimes, as much as public demand pressures for certain services, good government has to say ‘No’ and defer or deny the request, Santori added.
The audit available online now gives an overall picture of how the city is running— according to 2011 audited financial statements done by Craig Teindl of L. Soligos and Associates—looking at the city’s consolidated revenue by taking into account general operations, water and sewer operations, staff and capital funds, marrying it all together into one statement.
The city had consolidated revenues of $19,128,549, around $1.8 million over budget for the year. On the other hand, consolidated expenditures were $17,606,440, approximately $3.21 million less than what the city had budgeted for.
The city’s audit of its financial statements are now on the city’s website at http://www.trail.ca/notices.php?action=display&id=332.