The County of Wetaskiwin’s finances went under an auditor’s scrutiny recent, and have come back with a passing grade heard council at their Apr. 17 regular meeting.
BDO Canada audited the County of Wetaskiwn’s financial statements, and accountant Dan Lymes presented the results to council.
An agenda item from municipal staff stated, “In order to audit a Financial Statement for an organization, the Auditors have to be independent from the organization.
“BDO is independent from the County of Wetaskiwin and are not dependent on the County financially nor does BDO have any relationship with the County other than through the audit process. Management is responsible for the Financial Statements and are required to follow accounting principles prescribed by Generally Accepted Accounting Principles and by the Minister of Alberta Municipal Affairs.
“The Auditor’s responsibility is to express an opinion on the Financial Statements based on the audit. The Auditors follow Generally Accepted Auditing Standards to complete the audit. These require the Auditor to obtain sufficient audit evidence to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the statements are free from material misstatement based on their assessment of risk.”
Lymes stated BDO remained independent throughout the auditing process. He also stated that, while conducting the audit, he didn’t find anything unusual or alarming. “There was nothing that concerned us,” said Lymes.
Statement of Financial Position
According to the staff memo, cash and cash equivalents are decreased by $4,898,522.00 at the end of December compared to December, 2016. This is mostly due the County holding funds in escrow for the Dorchester Development at the end of 2016.
Taxes receivable are up to $1,485,308.00 which is an increase of $204,306.00 after an increase in the Allowance for Doubtful accounts of $332,015. This increase is to allow for the Linear taxes that will be written off in 2018 to receive the refund from the Provincial Government for the uncollectible School taxes.
Accounts receivable are up by $3,862,436.00. This increase is primarily due to grants receivable for the large capital projects increasing from the prior year.
Patronage reserves are up slightly.
Debt recoverable is the result of the debenture that the County borrowed and then loaned to the Wetaskiwin and Area Lodge Authority (WALA). This is the amount that the Authority will pay back for the debenture amount is $6,838,842.00.
General accounts payables are up by $1,005,930.00 due to two deposits on fire trucks that were made at year end as well as payables due to contractors for large capital projects being done at year end. Contracted holdbacks are also up $373,483 due to the large capital projects being worked on.
Deposit liabilities are down by $34,050.00.
Deferred revenues are down by $3,005,460.00 primarily due to two years Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) revenue being recognized during the year.
Long-term debt is down by $573,935.00. This is due to principle payments being made to the debt.
Tangible capital assets are up by $11,069,399.00 due to the construction of the south side sewer and road improvements.
Prepaid expenses and inventory are down $357,660.00. This is due to gravel being used but not crushed in 2017.
Statement of Operations
The staff memo noted revenues are below budget by $12,919,816 for a number of reasons. Government transfers were less due to the fact that capital projects were not completed therefore, grant revenue and cost sharing revenue are not under budget for those projects. User fees and service charges were below budget as the County was expecting to need the escrow funds to complete work in the Dorchester Development but when a new developer took over the project the escrow funds were transferred to them.
The investment income is below budget as the revenue from the senior’s home is budgeted on a cash basis but is booked in the accounts on an accrual basis because a portion of the payment is a repayment of the debt and is not an operating income. Sales to other governments such as Capital cost recovery for work on the Southside sewer was below budget as the project is not completed. This also affected other income as local improvement levies were budgeted for but won’t be charged until this project is operational.
Lymes said, based on the work he did with the information provided, the County of Wetaskiwin is in solid financial health.
Councilors unanimously approved the audited financial statements.