Parking revenues emerged as a key concern for The Blue Mountains council after receiving the town’s bi-monthly financial report.
Town Deputy Treasurer/Manager of Accounting and Budgets Sam Dinsmore delivered the financial update at council’s committee of the whole meeting on June 21. Dinsmore noted that he made some changes to the format of the report after council indicated concerns at a previous meeting.
The report has a focus on revenue and expenses areas that are forecasting +/- 10 per cent of the budget and provides graphs and charts showing the progress of the budget to the end of May.
Parking revenues for the town were off significantly and that emerged as a key discussion point after the report was presented.
“It’s projecting 64 per cent of paid parking versus the prior year when we were able to achieve 88 per cent. What’s happened and why is it different?” asked Coun. Rob Sampson. “That is not an insignificant variance from the previous year.”
In dollars, the town expects to bring in $384,000 of the $600,000 budgeted parking revenue.
Dinsmore explained that parking revenue is relatively new to the town and there isn’t a lot of historical data to rely on from previous years. He also noted that the Arthur Street parking lot in Thornbury is being built and won’t generate any revenue until later in the summer.
“We knew we weren’t going to collect until later in the year,” said Dinsmore, adding the town will have a better understanding of parking revenue in August, once the Arthur Street lot is up and running in July.
Other members of council were pleased with the format changes made by staff.
“I wanted to compliment Mr. Dinsmore on what he has put together. From my perspective, this is what I was looking for,” said Coun. Paula Hope.
Mayor Alar Soever also praised the new format and asked about revenues from Short Term Rental fees.
“Anecdotally I’m hearing bylaw is having quite a bit of success tracking down Short Term Accommodations. When will we see the data? When will we see the impact of that?” the mayor asked.
Dinsmore said at this time STA revenues are where they were expected to be at this point in the year.
“They are, for all intents and purposes, tracking on budget,” said Dinsmore. “I can include that one if it’s a high interest of council and the public.”
CAO Shawn Everitt also noted that bylaw activities report would be coming to council in the near future outlining all the activities of that department.