“We usually won’t commit to what the 2012 year-end numbers are until at least the month of January is past,” director of financial services Joe Day said, noting that some invoices regarding the city’s funding for snow removal have yet to be processed.
“We’re going to be a month into 2013 before we would want to give out any kind of estimates as to what our 2012 actuals were,” he added.
Day did say, however, that through a few years leading up to 2012, the actual cost for snow clearing has typically either matched or been less than the projected cost.
As of Jan. 7, more than 77 centimetres of snow have fallen in Prince Albert since Oct. 1. During that same timeframe, 26.4 centimetres fell last winter, 57 centimetres fell during the 2010/11 winter season and 35 centimetres fell during the 2009/10 winter season.
According to the city’s 2012 General Fund Budget Report, $490,490 has been the estimated amount needed to cover snow-removal costs for the past two years.
The general fund revenue covers costs, but the budget is based on the fiscal year. Therefore, the city allocated $490,490 to snow removal from January to December of 2012.
That means the city is covering snow-removal costs with 2013 funds based on the assumption that the annual cost will be about the same.
“They usually spend 60 per cent of that budget in the January, February, March months,” Day said. “And the remaining budget gets spent in those November, December months.”
During October of 2012 alone, more than 23 centimetres of snow fell in Prince Albert. According to Day, during winters when there is an unusually high amount of snow, the city may go overbudget by drawing from other resources.
“They certainly will not spend all of the budget in January to March,” Day said. “By the end of March or April, we’ll know what kind of funding is available for the November, December months -- whether there will be any concerns with the snow-removal budget.
“There are fluctuations year-to-year,” Day continued. “We do try to balance the snow-removal actual costs against the budget, and then determine what other projects and activities can accommodate those fluctuations.”