PANS pensions pushes Springhill into deficit

Christopher Gooding
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SPRINGHILL A couple of unfortunate setbacks pushed the Town of Springhill into the red, council learned recently when it received the auditors report, putting the communitys dream of running a surplus year on hold for at least another year.

Mike Hunter of Jorgensen and Bickerton in Amherst, identified a pension agreement with the Police Association of Nova Scotia and retro-payments owed by the Town of Springhill as the two major obstacles the community collided with and prevented from balancing the books for 2007-2009.

Without those it would have been a zero-balance, Hunter, a chartered accountant, said. The town has been working three years to rid the operating deficit and it would have done it hadnt it been for those.

The pension agreement, which was held-off until a court ordered forced Springhill and a number of other municipalities to contribute, was an overrun of more than $300,000. It total, the town ran a deficit of $378,486 but Hunter says Springhill shouldnt be disheartened.

Every year we do the audit we see good things, Hunter said.

Its unfortunate the situation we are in with the pension plan and contractual agreements, Springhill Mayor Allen Dill said. That will not prevent us from moving forward. We have a job to do.

Springhills water utility performed reasonably well during 2007 to 2008 but ran a deficit in the end. Revenues versus expenditures ran in the ballpark of $1 million to $900,00, leaving an operating profit of $151,400. Non-operating expenditures, like interest on temporary borrowing, swallowed that profit margin and left the utility with a $394,5867 deficit, about $100,000 more than expected.

To deal with the cost of operating the water utility, the Town of Springhill was heard by the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board two years ago, which agreed to incremental rate increases to balance the books. Residential water bills stand at $104.94 and will go up to $110.67 in April of this year.

Organizations: Police Association of Nova Scotia, Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board

Geographic location: Springhill, Amherst, Springhills

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Recent comments

  • Jack on the rocks
    January 18, 2010 - 11:09

    Hey Fuzzy,maybe if the town wasn't so cheap and agreed to the contracts at first they would have to pay in 1 lump sum.Looks good on them.

  • anonymous
    January 18, 2010 - 11:08

    The towns that had to pay for the shortfall for the pension had to do so because of the poor investment decisions made by the PANS union who are in complete control of investing the pension funds. The towns have no say how the funds were invested, although I have read that this may be changing at the request of the union, for the towns to get more involved in the investment decisions.

    Cannot blame any of the towns for this one. Unfortunately the tax payers have to make up the shortfall for this defined pension plan, even though they had no control over it.

  • Fuzzy
    January 18, 2010 - 11:08

    Time out here.............we have two Fuzzy Bear's!!! I didn't write this. Obviously someone else is using my name!! Common Fuzzy impersonator 2 I've been using this one longer than you so how about showing some originality and picking another handle.

  • troy
    January 18, 2010 - 10:59

    LOL,,Looks like Springhill will have to start digging for coal again,, lol That would employ a few of them anyways,, and help the welfare system alot.

  • Sam Steele
    January 18, 2010 - 10:31

    Bring in the mounties and that will fix your town pension issue. The mounties can patrol the town on horseback to save fuel.