County of Wetaskiwin council approved their annual borrowing bylaw and also made a decision on unpaid penalty fees owed by some resource companies during the regular meeting of council Jan 10.
The items were part of the regular report of Grace French, director of finance.
French explained the borrowing bylaw is a standard precaution this time of year. “To cover expenses, each year Council reviews and approves an annual short term borrowing by-law authorized under Section 251 of the Municipal Government Act,” stated French in her memo to council.
“In 2016, the County did not have to access the Short Term Borrowing By-law,” she added. CAO Frank Coutney said by phone Jan. 11 the county approves the bylaw as a precaution but hasn’t had to use it in years.
French explained the county always has the school requisition which it collects on behalf of then provincial government to keep in mind.
“The Alberta School Foundation Fund requisition is payable by the end March and June prior to collection of the August 31st property tax due date, therefore short term borrowing is required to cover other County operating expenses,’ stated French. “By the end of June, the County will be required to remit approximately $3.5 million.”
Council unanimously approved the borrowing bylaw.
French advised council there were some outstanding bills sent to resource companies that apparently cannot be paid anymore. “Administration is requesting that three accounts, belonging to oil companies, be canceled as the companies are no longer in existence,” stated French in her memo.
French stated that account 6407 had an amount outstanding of $1073.60, and the original invoice September 12, 2012 in the amount of $776.91 was for drilling license and subsequent penalties.
Account 5390 had an amount outstanding of $1,515.80. The original invoice of November 29, 2012 included the amount of $4,862.72, which was eventually paid. However the balance of $1,515.80 was outstanding penalty amounts.
Lastly, account 7205 had the amount outstanding of $300. The original invoice of October 9, 2015 in the amount of $300 for rural address signs was for cost recovery. “These two sign were ordered and installed at the request of the oil company,” stated French. “In discussions with IT and Public Works, it was decided that a work order will be submitted to have these signs removed.”
Coutney told The Pipestone Flyer Jan. 11 that since the companies in question were no longer functioning, the debts were uncollectible.
French noted the county wasn’t aware of the businesses closing shop. “Statements were sent out recently,” she noted in her memo. “Two of these were returned undeliverable.
“A representative from the third company advised that they have declared receivership and the claim process ended November 25, 2016 which means that no claims can be submitted again as per court order.”
French advised council they could write off these accounts receivable with a resolution, which they unanimously did.