Lambton County ends 2012 nearly $950k in the red

John Innes, director of finance in Lambton.

John Innes, director of finance in Lambton.

Lambton County council will be looking for solutions to a $949,500 deficit today.

In a report to council, Director of Finance, John Innes, says lower than expected revenue from fines from the county-run provincial offenses court and a bill for back court services costs are part of the reason for the deficit.

Innes says the county took in $200,000 less than anticipated in fines in the final quarter of 2012.

And the City of Sarnia – which provides security at the court paid by the entire county – sent a bill dating back two years worth $150,982.

There was also a significant $804,500 year end shortfall in the county’s nursing homes, after the provincial Ministry of Health looked at wages and benefits dating back to 2009 and made adjustments.

Innes says a number of departments also had surpluses, most notably infrastructure and development which saved over $300,000 in 2012, cultural services with about $140,000 and the administration trimmed about $122,000 from its budget.

Councilors will decide at today’s meeting whether to use reserve funds to cover the deficit or to include the overage in the 2013 budget. That would increase taxes by 1.49 percent.