County’s overall finances in good health

  • Apr. 6, 2011 5:00 p.m.

JULIE BERTRAND/Independent reporter

County of Stettler released its audited financial statements for 2010 on April 1.

Financial assets increased from $15,960,211 to $17,997,009.

Non-financial assets, which included tangible capital assets, increased from $77,621,872 to $82,323,721.This is the first time that the county reported its tangible capital assets in line with the requirements introduced by the provincial government.

“We basically had to inventory every single asset that we have. It took close to two years for us to be able to do that,” said Shawna Benson, director of communications for the county.

“We included everything: our roads, our equipment, our culverts, road signs, road sign infrastructure, buildings. It came right down to computers.”

The tangible capital assets will now be depreciated over the use of a lifetime.

“We definitely do have a lot of assets. We have 2,777 km of roads,” said Benson.

“Just on that figure alone, people can imagine how much stuff we need just to maintain that road network.”

Liabilities increased from $7,915,166 to $8,087,009. They include loans, debt, accounts payable and deferred revenue.

Total revenue decreased from $16,960,704 to $16,447,620 as the county received less money from net municipal property taxes, government transfers, rentals in addition to lower on disposal of tangible assets in 2010.

Expenses increased from $15,595,084 to $16,480,860.

The total for county’s salaries, wages and benefits increased from $4,940,140 to $5,176,615. While disbursements for some councillors decreased from 2009 to 2010, those for others increased. These disbursements include salaries, fees, allowances and honoraria. Councillors Dave Grover, Earl Marshall and Vic Carey each received in 2010 about $10,000 less than in 2009. Grover earned $29,009, down from $40,954 in 2009. Marshall’s total went from $41,928 in 2009 to $31,591 in 2010. Carey took home $32,741 in 2009 and $21,771 in 2010. County CAO Tim Fox’s total salary increased by more than $17,000 in 2010. He earned $168,650 in 2009 and 185,944 in 2010.

Materials, goods, supplies and utilities increased from $2,345,056 to $3,684,626.

The county’s longterm debt decreased from $1,373,785 to $1,271,787.

The county is satisfied with its financial statements.

“We just determined that there are a couple of things that we could improve upon,” said Benson.

The main area of concern is the county’s cash flow.

“We’ve opted to do quarterly cash flow reports so that we know just what our cash flow is in quarterly segments because there is conceivably a time when, because taxes come in, where we might run short of cash,” said Benson.

“It’s just a way for us to keep on top of our cash flow a little bit more.”

The county is satisfied with its audit and has no real major concern with its audit process.

“Our auditor was very impressed with the work that we put in and it made her job a lot easier,” concluded Benson.