County Annual report – 2019

Northumberland County has now released their Annual Report – not just Financial but also a review of what they have been doing.  The County’s organization and budget are bigger than Cobourg’s ($112M compared to $50M) but they get less attention.  They look after Waste Collection and Management, County roads, Social Services (Welfare and the Golden Plough), Affordable Housing, Economic development and Tourism promotion, Paramedics (Ambulances), County Forests and Archives. You can  download the full 86 page report from the link below but I have summarized the highlights for you.  It’s hard not to compare the County report to what is done by Cobourg.  Unlike the County, Cobourg does not do an annual report but simply reports on finances and so far have not issued the 2019 financial statement.

County Facts

  • Population: 90,437
  • Total Budget: $112M
  • Curbside Waste Collection Stops/Week: 39,000
  • Paramedic Calls/Year:  25,000
  • Beds in Long Term Care Home (Golden Plough Lodge – GPL): 151
  • Community Housing Units Maintained: 344
  • Acres of County Forests: 5,424 with 118 km of Trails
  • County Roads:  503 km

(More in full report – see below)

2019 Achievements (highlights)

  • Started work on Elgin Park Affordable Housing project (Cobourg News Blog report)
  • Implemented Green Bin Organics program
  • Continued work on Golden Plough Lodge Redevelopment
  • Formed Ontario Health Team
  • Planted 12,000 trees
  • Distributed 1.5M lbs of food through Food 4 All

(More in full report – see below)

As well as normal financial statements, the Annual report includes graphics showing just where the money goes and where it comes from.

Expenses by Type

We can conclude from the above:

  • Since the largest cost is salaries and benefits, if the county wants to significantly reduce expenses (because of Covid-19 problems), it will have to reduce the number of employees or reduce their salaries or drastically cut other activities.
  • Although we may think that the County spends big on roads and bridges, the biggest expense is in fact Social Services: Social and Family Services plus Social Housing between them take $48M from the $112M budget (43%).  A big part of that is welfare payments – in 2019 I believe that amount was $21M although that is part of the $36.4M that comes from the Province.  Another $16M is spent on operating the GPL.
  • Although Cobourg has only one employee working on Economic Development and has separated out the responsibility of Tourism into Community Services, the County integrates these and spends $3.6M on them.

In addition to operating costs, there are also Capital expenses – mostly on roads and bridges and including projects like redevelopment of the GPL ($80M) and the Campbellford bridge ($125M).  But surprisingly, because their costs are borrowed and payments are spread out, they have little impact on the budget.

The County may not get much attention (few go to their public meetings), but they do a good job of transparency – see their full report.


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3 years ago

After reading this, I understand better that “the County” is a lot more than just some other folks’ local government out there in the boonies.

Last edited 3 years ago by JimT
3 years ago

Congrats to the County for transparency and timely reporting.

We live in a country where the largest operating commercial enterprise is the federal government, so, I suppose it is fitting that we have allowed our County level of government to become the largest commercial enterprise here. They join many other levels of government and government agencies as being one of our top employers and have their operating budget totally dependent on a Provincial Government. So–when the Province ‘shuts down’ for Covid 19, what is the real impact on our County?…Well–if 8 of the top 10 employers are government or gov’t agencies; if more than 20% of our residents receive some sort of government support; if a third of our residents are retired(pension/OAS) then the answer is ” Not Much!”….as long as the cheques continue to flow…..

As those over-draft cheques start to become harder to write, upcoming ‘projects’ like Golden Plough Lodge($100mm?) will have to come under greater scrutiny.

Reply to  Dunkirk
3 years ago

The time for Greater Scrutiny is NOW
Pencils down – don’t continue thinking we can put more time and salaries $$$$
from tax dollars
into projects that we can not afford or are out of reach for many years to come
Stop the bleeding now

Reply to  Sandpiper
3 years ago

Got to agree with you Sandpiper. You said it better than I could. Given that salaries are 1/3rd of the Budget, we are really paying our Public Servants at the County $1 to administer every $2……in the real world, this would be a business model that would not attract funding or financing.