TORONTO — The Pan Am and Parapan Am Games held in Toronto this summer came within the $2.4-billion budget, officials said Thursday, which means organizers are eligible for lucrative performance bonuses laid out in their contracts.
Budget projections earlier this year estimated the final cost of the Games would be upwards of $2.5 billion, but the province and the TO2015 organizing committee said they found an additional $150 million in savings between them.
Among those savings were $54 million in security expenses — security cost estimates had gone up to $239 million from $206 million just months before the Games.
Money was saved by consolidating resources between police services and managing risk in a way that allowed security forces to cut back on bag checks at venues and other such measures, officials said.
Both transportation and security budgets were spared in part due to the lack of major weather events or other emergencies, they said.
The savings are on top of the $56-million surplus in capital expenses reported earlier this year, officials said.
In total, the province estimates the Games cost $2.423 billion and brought in $175 million, including $36 million in ticket sales. The government said the final tally will be determined after all invoices are reconciled and audited statements have been prepared.
Tourism and Sport Minister Michael Coteau said that while the Games didn’t bring in as much as they cost, the gains in infrastructure are “absolutely” worth the more than $2-billion discrepancy.
“If you go out to Scarborough and you meet young kids who are swimming at the Pan Am facility out there, you look to Markham, you look to this facility, you ask people who are using the facilities, people living in the accessible affordable housing at the village, they’ll say this is a great initiative. I think you have to look at the whole thing.”
Executives with the organizing committee have been told they will split $5.7 million in bonuses if the Games come in under budget.
Ontario’s auditor general will also conduct a financial audit of the Games but will not rule on the bonuses issue.
Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk has told the public accounts committee her financial audit would not determine who should get a bonus, but would provide the facts in order for others to make the decision.
The opposition parties suggested officials inflated the budget to ensure they would come under _ a claim Coteau categorically rejected.
“The budget ballooned in the spring of this year and there was a lot of efficiencies that they talked about but more importantly there was a lot of contingencies,” which makes it easy to find savings later, Progressive Conservative house leader Steve Clark said.
“The Games are not even close to breaking even, the costs were 10 times the revenue,” said Paul Miller, the NDP critic for the Pan Am Games.
Spending for the Games — particularly when it comes to executive compensation — has been under scrutiny for years, and both opposition parties have expressed concerns about what they consider a lack of financial transparency.
Complaints over executive expenses emerged long before the Games began and a second budget was discovered for the event.
The province said in 2013 that the original $1.44-billion budget didn’t include the $700-million cost of building the athletes’ village or $10 million for the provincial Pan Am secretariat. The numbers released Thursday priced the athletes’ village at $683 million and allocated $43 million to the secretariat.
Two years ago, the province ordered the organizing committee to tighten its expense rules after some of its well-paid executives, including the committee’s former president and CEO Ian Troop, billed taxpayers for items such as a 91-cent parking fee and $1.89 cup of tea.
Troop was later replaced by former deputy minister Saad Rafi, who is eligible for a $428,000 bonus.