Manor board takes steps toward capital reserves

LITTLE CURRENT – Following a productive meeting with their municipal partners, the board of Manitoulin Centennial Manor has decided to set aside $10,000 a month of their capital budget as a “contingency” fund to cover unexpected expenses.

“We are setting aside $10,000 a month from the capital budget for emergency cases that come up,” said Manor board chair Patricia MacDonald. “It came out of a meeting with our municipal partners last fall. It was one of the things they thought would be a good thing to do.”

The change is not reflected in this year’s budget, noted Ms. MacDonald. “But if we can do capital maintenance work we should be able to reduce our overall maintenance costs. I think everyone is thinking that this is a good idea,” she said.

As for the general position the Manor is finding itself in these days, Ms. MacDonald was upbeat. “I am very happy that things are going well,” she said. “There seems to have been a change of climate; it is more pleasant. The ambiance is much more relaxed for our residents and staff.”

Ms. McDonald suggested that the stress that had been in place over the Manor’s financial woes had been weighing on everyone.

“For a while there our residents thought they were going to be kicked out,” she said. “That was never going to happen, but that was what was going around.” For both staff and residents the uncertainty was a challenge.

Although the emergency fund was not budgeted for in the current fiscal period, the funding has been allocated from within the current budget figures.

One long time proponent of the Manor establishing a reserve fund to help defray unanticipated and anticipated capital expenditures, Northeast Town Mayor Al MacNevin was cautiously optimistic. “I haven’t seen the Manor’s budget,” he admitted (not surprising given that the audited figures were only passed last week). “However, if they have found a way to contribute the equivalent of $120,000 per year to a reserve fund for capital expenditures then that would be great news for everyone. It has been the position of The Town of NEMI for many years that the Manor board should establish and maintain reserves to ensure its sustainability. This is great news.”