The City of Winkler reported some good financial news at its council meeting last week.
With tremendous strains on the budget over the last several years, Mayor Henry Siemens called it "happy financial news."

He said with a number of their capital projects not going ahead last year, that left money in the bank, generating an unexpected $1.3 million in interest revenue.
The province also announced it was lifting the funding freeze which was in place since 2016 on municipal operating and municipal policing grants. Winkler received $2.2 million in additional funds through that, enabling them to put just over $3.6 million into the 2024 general reserves.

"That was very nice to see. It was a surprise, it was helpful. We had been waiting for it for quite some time because the strain on our budget had been very significant over those last several years." 

Siemens said over the years, their costs in those areas continued to increase, but the support from the province wasn't there, so they're very happy to see that additional revenue come in. He says this unexpected revenue will allow them to fund their Asset Management plan, and fund the shortfalls from over the last few years while the funding freeze was in place.

"Municipalities are not legally allowed to run a deficit, so we typically budget a surplus of between 2 and 5%, so that we're ready for any unforeseen that might come up," said Siemens. "In our actual operations and maintenance budget, we only had a $50,000 surplus, so that is less than 1/4 of a percent and would have left us very nervous if we hadn't had some of these other good things come to the fore." 

Winkler also had a $1,000,000 surplus in its utility fund. Siemens says the surplus was made up of sewer and water charges.

"So what that means, is we sold more water last year than we did in 2022," noted Siemens.