With big Central Division lead Rebels lock up playoff spot
Submitted by the Red Deer Rebels
REBELS THIS WEEK
The Red Deer Rebels have officially booked their spot in the 2023 WHL Playoffs. The next task for the club is to clinch first place in the Central Division. Red Deer currently owns a 12-point lead over Lethbridge atop the division standings. The Rebels have 11 games left in the regular season while Lethbridge has 10.
ABOUT LAST WEEK
Sat. Feb. 25 – Five different players found the back of the net as the Rebels downed the visiting Kelowna Rockets 5-1 at the Peavey Mart Centrium. Ollie Josephson, Jace Weir, Ben King, Jace Isley and Mats Lindgren each scored once. Jayden Grubbe and Kai Uchacz each had two assists. Kyle Kelsey was solid in making 29 saves as Kelowna outshot Red Deer 30-25 on the night. Red Deer was 2-for-3 on the power play while Kelowna was 0-for-4.
Fri. Feb. 24 – The Rebels went toe to toe with the Winnipeg ICE but fell 2-1 to the CHL’s top ranked team at the Peavey Mart Centrium. Jace Isley scored Red Deer’s lone goal of the game 11 seconds into period two. Rebels netminder Kyle Kelsey finished with 29 saves. Winnipeg outshot Red Deer 31-30 and was 0-for-4 on the power play. Red Deer was 0-for-5 with the man advantage.
Mon. Feb. 20 – The Medicine Hat Tigers defeated the Rebels 4-1 in Family Day Matinee action at the Peavey Mart Centrium. Kai Uchacz scored his team leading 44th goal of the year for the Rebels. Over 6,000 fans turned out for the game with many sticking around for the return of the postgame Paint the Ice party.
The Rebels are out east this week for a four-game-in-five-night road trip that starts Tuesday at Prince Albert. The trip continues Wednesday at Saskatoon and Friday in Brandon before wrapping up on Saturday, March 4 in Regina versus Connor Bedard and the Pats.
So far this season the Rebels are 2-1-0-0 versus Prince Albert, 1-1-1-0 versus Saskatoon, 1-1-0-1 versus Brandon and 2-1-0-0 versus Regina. This week marks the final time the Rebels play each of these teams during the regular season.
Forward Ben King has 94 career goals with the Rebels tying him for 5th on the team’s all-time list with Greg Schmidt (1994-97). Brandon Hagel (2015-19) is fourth on the Rebels all-time list with 103 goals.
With only five regular season home games remaining and the Rebels officially headed to the postseason, it’s time to look ahead to the Rebels playoff run! Visit reddeerrebels.com to see the available options for playoff packages and how to guarantee your seat!
CANADA WINTER GAMES
Four Red Deer Rebels represented their province at the 2023 Canada Winter Games in Prince Edward Island. Defenceman Luke Vlooswyk, Red Deer’s 17th overall pick at the 2022 WHL Prospects Draft, played for Team Alberta, while Forward Matthew Gard (Round 2, 39th) and defencemen Tate Dolinsky (Round 4, 69th) and Reece Gault (Round 5, 105th) all played for Team Manitoba. Current Rebels who played at the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer include forwards Jayden Grubbe and Kai Uchacz for Team Alberta, and defenceman Marek Schneider for Team Saskatchewan.
For media inquiries, email [email protected]. For all other inquiries, including tickets, call 403-341-6000 or visit reddeerrebels.com.
City of Red Deer
City releases Annual Financial Report for 2022
Financial Statement Highlights & Analysis
2022 has been an unprecedented year for The City with the economy recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and the Bank of Canada hiking interest rates to help mitigate rising inflation. These issues, not unique to Red Deer, are posing challenges to The City’s current financial strategy.
Total operating revenue has increased by $8.1 million (3%) over last year but fell short of budget by $14.7 million (4%).
User fees and sale of goods went up by $11.9 million due to an increase in service levels after the pandemic in recreation facilities, transit, and utilities. Most of the increase is in land sales.
Unfortunately, the recovery did not return The City’s operations to pre-pandemic levels. The expectation of revenue increases in those areas exceeded actual results.
Operating expenses were also heavily impacted. Pandemic recovery as well as higher inflation have contributed to the general increase in expenses over last year in the amount of $20.2 million (5%). These increases come in the form of higher fuel costs in transportation and fleet, higher transmission costs and tariffs for electric light and power, and increased salaries at recreation facilities, transit, as well as ongoing overtime for police and emergency services.
On an object basis, these increases are primarily impacting salaries, contracted services, and materials and supplies expense, offset by the decrease in grants to organizations. The City planned on these costs rising, however, and came within $3.5 million (1%) of budgeted expenses.
Due to lower-than-expected revenue and increasing expenses, The City reported an operating deficit of $43.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2022. This is $11.2 million (35%) over budget of $32.4 million.
Operating deficits can affect The City’s ability to fund operations in the future, as it has a direct impact on tax supported reserves. Reserves overall have declined by $21.3 million (11%); $18.7 million of that decrease is the Operating Reserve- Tax Supported (ORTS). The City budgeted a decline (use) of ORTS during 2022 and expected a year-end balance of $17.5 million, however due to the operating deficit, the actual year-end balance is now $8.9 million.
Taken together, tax-supported activities (general government services, protective services, transportation, community services, and recreation, parks, and culture) reported a deficit before capital related revenues of $71.5 million. This is mostly related to depreciation on tangible capital assets which The City does not fund through taxes, but through equity in tangible capital assets. The remaining 25% of the shortfall must be funded through ORTS.
The main areas attributing to the unexpected shortfall in tax supported operations is the RCMP contract and the Kinsmen arena contaminated site accrual as well as lower-than-expected tax-supported revenues, namely investment income, transit, recreation, and fines. These shortfalls are somewhat offset by higher staff vacancies and lower finance charges in transportation and higher community services grants.
Despite this concerning decline in ORTS, self-supported operations are holding steady with no significant change from prior year when taken as a whole. The City expected the use of reserves during the past three years: future budgets will need to improve these key reserves. A revised reserve policy will be forthcoming to Council with a recommended minimum balance for ORTS.
The City’s capital expenditures revealed a little less activity compared to last year. This is due to one of the COVID-19 grant programs ending in 2022, leaving the COVID-19 Resilience grant until December 31, 2023. Total capital grant revenue recognized in the year is $46.7 million, which is $8.6 million (23%) more than projected and $1.9 million (5%) more than last year. The City put more emphasis on utilizing grants while they are still available and less on borrowing and capital reserve.
In 2022, total capital expenditures of $105.2 million were financed with 44% capital grants, 33% reserve, 18% debenture borrowing, and 5% developer fees and other external sources.
The capital activities for The City have resulted in an overall annual surplus of $9.7 million, which is much lower than prior year and lower than budgeted. This shows that The City has become increasingly dependent on capital grants to grow its accumulated surplus. However, it is important to note that all of this surplus is used to purchase tangible capital assets and is not available for operations.
The statement of financial position tells its own story. Both financial assets and liabilities declined over last year. Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) and Canada Community Building Fund (CCBF) advances for 2022 have fallen by roughly half. Although, this did not change the amount of grant revenue reported in 2022, it did reduce both government transfers receivable and deferred government transfers. This indicates potential declines in capital grant revenue reported in the future, especially as the COVID-19 Resilience grant comes to an end.
Because the decrease in financial assets exceeded the decrease in liabilities, the net debt has increased by $21.2 million (20%) from prior year.
Impacts from COVID-19 recovery and rising costs are reflected in The City’s financial position as well. Lower capital expenditures in 2022 have freed up more cash flows to invest in short term deposits to take advantage of the higher interest rates. Losses on sale of long-term investment has also occurred, resulting in lower investment earnings recognized as short term interest is allocated to The City’s various deferred revenue balances.
The market value of The City’s investments fell over 6% to the investment cost, the largest decline in recent memory. Actual investment losses are not realized unless the investments are sold. Management believes that these declines are temporary as interest rates stabilize and the bond market adjusts to a higher interest rate environment.
The City’s investment portfolio is not the only area affected by a higher interest rate environment. The cost of new borrowing will increase into the foreseeable future. Though, The City has reported no substantial increase in finance charges for 2022, the debt servicing limit is more forward looking. Despite higher revenues resulting in higher debt service limit of $89 million, total debt servicing costs have risen at a higher rate, resulting in an increase in debt service limit to 37%, up from 36%. This is largely due to full years’ worth of payments on the $19 million debenture issued September 2021 for The Westerner Exposition Association. Although a 1% increase is not a cause for concern on its own, it is important to note that, going forward, the more expensive new debt becomes, the higher the debt servicing limit will grow relative to the debt limit.
This is illustrated by The City’s debit limit decreasing even though debt servicing increased. The debt limit percentage is now at 56%, down from 58% due to higher revenues and long-term debt remaining relatively unchanged.
With no changes to service levels, no increases to property taxes combined with increased costs during the past three years has culminated in The City relying heavily on operating reserves, specifically the ORTS. This is a trend The City must improve upon in the upcoming years.
While The ORTS is an area of concern, other indicators do provide a positive picture. Utility operations remain stable and well managed, the use of debt has leveled off, and the investments made to our assets are strong. Administration has more control over costs, which are managed well, and less control over revenues, which have not achieved our planned levels.
The task before us is to maintain what we are doing right and to improve upon our key reserve balances. The City’s future budgets are moving away from a reliance on reserves as a funding source and plan to update the reserve policy to prop up reserve balances. Our next two years will also see the City develop a Long Term Financial Plan and an overall values based service level review.
Ray MacIntosh, MBA, CPA, CGA Chief Financial Officer
May 1, 2023
(a) Salary includes regular base pay, overtime, lump sum payments, gross honoraria, and any other direct cash remuneration. The City does not pay bonuses to employees.
(b) Employer’s share of all employee benefits and contributions or payments made on behalf of employees including pension, health care, dental coverage, group life insurance, long and short- term disability plans, professional memberships, tuition, and car allowance. Benefits and allowances also include supplementary employee retirement plan payments and moving and relocation allowances.
(c) Benefits for City Councillors include accidental death and dismemberment, group life, health care, dental coverage, registered savings plan, internet and phone allowances, transit, and Canada Pension Plan.
(d) Included in benefits for the City Manager is a lump sum payout from the Muni SERP retirement plan in the amount of $133 in 2022.
Celebrate Canadian Environment Week by Volunteering at the Green Deer River Valley Cleanup, June 10!
From the Waskasoo Environmental Education Society
Formerly called the Red Deer River Cleanup, the Green Deer River Valley Cleanup will take place at the Kerry Wood Nature Centre from 12:00–3:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 10, 2023.
This annual spring initiative draws volunteers from across the city to join forces to keep our waterways clean and safe by spending the afternoon picking up litter near the Red Deer River and in the surrounding river valley.
Refreshments and prize raffle to follow litter cleanup! There will be over $1500 in prizes for volunteers; including two grand prizes donated by NOVA Chemicals. Each grand prize includes one full-size patio heater.
How it works:
1. Meet at the Kerry Wood Nature Centre field any time between 12:00 p.m. (noon) and 1:00 p.m. to receive your supplies and begin cleaning litter along your assigned route. Children 12 & under must attend with an adult.
2. Return to the Kerry Wood Nature Centre between 2:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. to hand in your unused supplies and enjoy some light refreshments.
3. Prize raffle will begin shortly after 3:00 p.m.
Suggested to please wear/bring:
• Visible, weather-appropriate clothing
• Closed-toe walking shoes
• Water bottle
• Bug spray
For more information:
• Visit https://www.waskasoopark.ca/kerry-wood-nature-centre/green-deer#riverCleanups
• Email [email protected]
• Phone 403-346-2010
Creating a population of citizens interested in, aware of, concerned about and involved in their natural and cultural history.
The Green Deer River Valley Cleanup is made possible thanks to the generosity and support of NOVA Chemicals, INEOS Canada Partnership, Friends of the Kerry Wood Nature Centre, and The City of Red Deer.
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