Village of Alix underfunded

Village of Alix is underfunded, according to an auditor’s statement presented to council during a special meeting April 20.
Daniel Luymes of BDO Canada LLP of Lacombe told council that the total assets for future net are $655,000 and when compared to the $910,000 in reserves, the village is underfunded.
“The culprit is the Moonwalker facility and the historical deficits incurred there,” said Luymes. “It’s not a horrible position to be in.”
The village has about $1 million in the bank but $530,000 of that amount is restricted, meaning they are government grants earmarked for specific projects.
The village’s cash flow statement, however, improved in 2016 to $520,000 in the bank at the end of 2016 compared with only $290,000 in 2015.
“So your cash position has improved this year over previous years.”
The village didn’t “execute” a lot of its capital projects in 2016, and came in under budget in some other departments, which offset the losses from Moonwalkers, said Luymes.
In December the Village of Alix council unanimously voted in favour of closing Moonwalkers, a 3,500 square foot interactive play centre.
The move came after BDO Canada presented Moonwalkers’ financial report to council December 2016 during a special meeting.
BDO had compiled a statement of operations for Moonwalkers from December 2012 to October 2016 showing a cumulative deficit of $553,673.
The village has a debt limit of $2 million and it currently has $300,000 in debt.
“With Moonwalkers not being a part of the organization the debt limit will go down,” said Luymes, adding that if the village repurposes the building they could get about $30,000 from selling the equipment.
Earlier this year council directed administration to prepare tender bid documents for the sale of Moonwalkers’ equipment.
The village’s tax receivables have gone up year over year and there are more in arrears that the village needs to collect, he said.
“When taxes are in arrears it can cause cash flow issues down the road.”
Luymes also cautioned the village to watch its sick leave policy because they have $15,000 to $20,000 in sick leave. He said if an employee leaves the amount goes to zero because you have to use sick days or lose them, and this would make the liability go down.
Luymes, said the final audited statement would be printed over the weekend of May 22 – 23 and available for distribution the following week.
The village declined to release the draft audit to the ECA Review when asked even though other communities released their draft audited statements to the ECA Review.
In addition, the village told the Review that they would have the final audited statement the week of April 25 but by the end of the week they still didn’t have the final document to provide to the Review.
Mayor Arlene Nelson was absent and the special council meeting was run by Alix Deputy Mayor Rob Fehr.
An investigator appointed by Municipal Affairs was at the meeting as they continue their investigation into the Village of Alix’s management, administration and operations in response to two petitions from residents last year.
Municipal Affairs appointed Ian McCormack and Ted Gillespie of Strategic Steps Inc. as inspectors.
Last March a group of Alix residents submitted two petitions with about 300 signatures each to Municipal Affairs asking them to launch an inquiry into the village council and administration.
Alix has about 400 registered voters.
The group cited high taxes and how the village spent tax dollars as reasons for one petition. The second petition asked Municipal Affairs to determine the viability of the municipality.

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