County Of Wetaskiwin Financial Indicators Much Healthier Than 18 Similar Municipalities

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Submitting financial information to Municipal Affairs a requirement 

Each year municipalities like the City of Wetaskiwin, Town of Millet and the County of Wetaskiwin are required to submit financial statements to the Government of Alberta in accordance with provisions set out in the Municipal Government Act and its associated Regulations. The statements must include a statement of financial position, a statement of operations, a statement of change in net debt and a statement of cash flow. Additional supplementary information is provided in schedules and notes to the financial statements. 

Each municipality is compared to a group of 18 other rural municipalities 

Financial indicator graphs have been prepared by Alberta Municipal Affairs using municipal financial and statistical data. The package is intended to serve as a tool that may assist Council and Administration with operational decisions. The comparative measures may be useful in assessing past performance and for budget planning. Each municipality is compared to a group of 18 other rural municipalities with a similar equalized assessment base. The range for most of the graphs are for the period 2006 to 2011.

The County of Wetaskiwin performance is compared to similar municipalities

The brief snapshot of the County of Wetaskiwin Financial Indicators verifies it serves its residents well with a multitude of programs and services that are strategically planned and managed to ensure the highest degree of effectiveness while carefully monitoring costs.

Alberta Municipal Affairs provided the County of Wetaskiwin with the 2011 Financial Indicator Graph package which Administration reviewed with Council on December 4, 2012.  The results are a comparison of how the County is performing financially, to other similar municipalities that collectively, are referred to as the ‘median’ or average. The following are some of the performance measurements:

The Municipal equalized tax rate for the County of Wetaskiwin was 6.7 verses a median of 6.8 and a maximum of 20.0.

The residential equalized tax rate for the County was 4.8 verses a median of 6.2 and a maximum of 10.0.

The non-residential equalized tax rate was 18.5 verses a median of 12.7 and a maximum of 25.0.

Some highlights of the report:

The County was only using 2.9 per cent of its total debt limit in 2011 compared to a median of 14.8 percent and a maximum of 80 percent.

The report shows that the County's long term debt per capita is $860 compared to a median of $767.00 per capita from the sample group with the range being from $0 per capita to a maximum of just under $6,000.00 per capita of debt load. The reason for the large increase from $97 in 2010 is the new debt for the Senior's Housing that the County obtained last year. This is being repaid by the Wetaskiwin & Area Lodge Authority.

The County's per capita property tax is $1,580.00 compared to a median of $2,920.00 per capita. This is pretty consistent with the prior year.

The County's percentage of property taxes to total operating revenue is 72 percent compared to a median of 62 percent and a maximum of 79 percent. The percentage of sales and user charges to total operating revenue is 8 percent compared to a median of 3%. Also the percentage of grant revenue to total operating revenue is 10 percent compared to a median of 19 percent. This is the result of us deferring the grants until approvals were in place.

The total operating expenditures per capita for the County is $2,019.00 compared to a median of $3,257.00 and a maximum of $13,737.00 per capita.

The County's per capita total government operating expenditures is $377.00 compared to a median

expenditure of $460.00 per person and a maximum of $2,017.00 per person. You will note that our per capita expenditures are below the median in all functions.

The County's salaries, wages and benefits is $726.00 per capita compared to a median of $945.00.

The County's ratio of current assets to current liabilities is 2.31 times. The County is in good financial position because for every dollar of current liabilities the County had in 2011 it had $2.31 dollars of current assets to pay it down with.

Strategic planning produces results for the County

The process, as outlined by the County, begins with the preparation of Vision, Mission and Values statements. This challenges the team members to carefully consider some fundamental questions about why the organization exists and what its future aspirations should look like. The Vision and Mission statements provide a clear indication as to where the organization is and where it is going. The Values statements contribute to the culture of the organization.

The Strategic Planning Process, an interactive and participative method, continues with the budget development and approval process, communication to stakeholders, implementation of the strategies and ongoing monitoring and controls. These processes have allowed the County to achieve focus and have helped align initiatives, departments and individuals so that they reinforce each other. It has provided the ability to make and fund new decisions, modify projects, and reassess its directions.

Prime example of how a decision to make a $8 Million  decision is now worth $125 Million

A prime example of  managing difficult decisions and making good decisions happened several years ago when the County entered into an agreement with the West Dried Meat Lake Regional Landfill Committee to form West Dried Meat Lake Regional Landfill Authority. The Authority owns and operates the Regional Landfill located within the County of Camrose at SW 14-44-21-W4M. The anticipated lifespan of the Regional Landfill, projecting current volumes, is in the neighbourhood of 100 years. This alleviates any serious solid waste land filling issues in the County for the anticipated life of the site.

The County's waste management strategy is based on an environmentally and economically responsible approach to the disposal of municipal solid waste generated within the County. To achieve this goal, the County entered into an agreement with the West Dried Meat Lake Regional Landfill Committee to form West Dried Meat Lake Regional Landfill Authority. The anticipated lifespan of the Regional Landfill, projecting current volumes, is in the neighbourhood of one hundred years. This alleviates any serious solid waste land filling issues in the County for the anticipated life of the site.

Throughout the years the County of Wetaskiwin has faced challenges; services vs. revenue. But through careful strategic long range planning, setting priorities and distributing the resources that are available, wisely, they have overcome many adversities.  

Based on the key financial indicators mentioned above, it is reasonable to conclude that the County of Wetaskiwin, although not the richest County in the province is certainly a leader in the category of being  financially sound and well-positioned to successfully meet future challenges.

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