Chelsea ‘net debt’ at $37M
The municipality of Chelsea added to its surplus in 2019 according to the mayor’s recent financial report.
Mayor Caryl Green gave the report during the regular June council meeting, which was held via the teleconference program Zoom. All councillors were present, as were about 11 people who tuned in to the meeting also using Zoom.
As of Dec. 31, 2019 the municipality’s unrestricted accumulated surplus was $1,596,622, she said. While her presentation didn’t include total debt figures, an independent financial report by Marc Boucher at Raymond Chabot Grant Thorton LLP, available online alongside the mayor’s report, does. According to that document, the municipal net debt is $37,957,930, which is down from $38,567,868 in 2018.
“The financial report … shows that the municipality is in a good financial position,” Green said.
She said the operating surplus is due to higher than expected revenue from taxes, payments in lieu of taxes, transfer revenue and interest and penalty revenue, while expenses for lower salaries and benefits were down.
The 2019 operating revenue was $19,391,612 and expenses were $18,929,199.
Major capital expenditures in 2019 included: $2,
237,955 Chemin de la Mine bike path, final paving of Chemin Notch for $255,145; repairs on River Road costing $170,115; drainage and stabilization work along the community trail for $98,950; stabilization along two Chelsea Creek tributaries for $72,487; various drainage projects for $210,789; and more.
“The total cost of capital expenditures for the 2019 fiscal year was $4,209,184. This amount includes various grants obtained by the municipality to alleviate the tax burden on residents and reduce total expenses,” Green said.
She also announced the reopening of the municipal hall o
n June 8 with health and safety precautions in place such as having to make an appointment to meet with an employee and wearing a mask and disinfecting hands.
A topic of some controversy in Chelsea was pulled from the agenda so that municipal committees and staff could further study the issue, councillor Jean-Paul Leduc told this reporter over the phone following the meeting. According to the resolution, a Chemin des Hauts-Bois resident seeks approval to build a driveway through a wetland, which is against municipal code.
“We shouldn’t move on any of these before we do our own reviews into the impact on the wetland,” Leduc said.
He added that in order for the applicant to sway him to vote to allow the driveway, they would have to prove that the alternative plan within the confines of municipal code would be worse for the wetlands than the proposed plan.
“That’s the way I look at it,” Leduc said.
The next regular council meeting is scheduled on July 7 at 7 p.m. Visit chelsea.ca for more information, to read the full financial report, or find the login information if the next council meeting is held via Zoom.