TRURO – The Rath Eastlink Community Centre (RECC) is projecting a deficit of more than $700,000 for the upcoming budget year.
An overview of the centre’s revenues and expenses were presented to Truro town council on Monday afternoon. Financial documents presented at the meeting indicated the proposed 2014-2015 budget has a revenue of $2.3 million. However, there’s a projected deficit of $721,000.
Jim Lambert, general manager of the RECC, confirmed the majority of financial issues resulted from a power bill of between $500,000 to $600,000 in the past year.
Lambert also said there was an increase of business at the site but with that increase “we had to increase costs.”
The deficit is expected to be paid by the town and the Municipality of Colchester County, with a 50/50 split. Before that bill is paid, it should be reviewed, said town Coun. Brian Kinsman.
“All expenses are up. Is there a further way of cost-cutting without affecting events?” asked Kinsman. “I suggest we sit down with the county and discus the budget before we approve it. We have to review whether the deficit is acceptable.”
Lambert said the RECC budget will be presented to county council this month as well.
Coun. Tom Chisholm asked if the future looks brighter, financially, for the centre.
“Down the road will we see a profit? How will it affect the town in the long term?” Chisholm asked.
Coun. Raymond Tynes added, “we must find ways to increase revenues while keeping expenses down … The first two years are growing pains (but) I will be critical of you if the next budget has this large deficit.”
Lambert said there are a few things to check to reduce expenses, such as possibly removing the ice in the summer and looking into building designs for power efficiencies.
Lambert also said despite the deficit, he feels the community centre has had a good year.
“We’ve grown in business. Marginally we are doing well,” he told council.
Truro Mayor Bill Mills said higher bills are not specific to the RECC alone.
“They are making a concerted effort to improve the bottom line.
It’s not just the RECC with (high) power bills … everyone is dealing with that.”
The RECC’s budgeted revenue for the previous year was $1.7 million with a deficit of $737,000.