City reserves are expected to get a $7-million boost thanks to some budgetary windfalls.

Finance manager Jim Bauer told council Tuesday that operating expenses for 2019 are forecast to come in $4.7 million below the $118.6 million that was budgeted.

Unexpected savings include wholesale electricity purchases coming in $2.8 million lower than expected and tax remittances to other governments tallying $1.3 million less than planned. A further savings of $400,000 is projected in the general fund due to staff vacancies, reduced contract costs and cancellation of some initiatives.

On the revenue side, Bauer is projecting $2.4 million more than forecast, due to a bonus payment from the gas-tax program and higher than expected development cost charges.

Bauer was hesitant, though, to describe the extra cash as a surplus because much of it, such as the electricity windfall, must go into dedicated reserves.