Alix recreation and parks staffing levels costly

Village of Alix released its audited financial reports and it shows that the biggest staff expense in 2016 was $378,119 for recreation and parks.
Another $287,771 was spent on contracted and general services for that department. The combined deficit for recreation and parks was $599,263. Council has been looking in to the staffing levels of this department.
In April the village’s auditor told council the village is underfunded and the culprit is the 3,500 square foot Moonwalkers interactive play centre and the historical deficits it incurred.
Moonwalkers operated at a loss since opening in Alix. BDO compiled a statement of operations for Moonwalkers from December 2012 to October 2016 showing a cumulative deficit of $553,673.
According to the audited financial statements, the budget that council passed in May 2016 wasn’t prepared on a basis consistent with that used to report actual results.
The report states, “The budget anticipated use of surpluses accumulated in previous years to fund current year operation and capital activities. The projected 2016 operating budget was stated as $8,131 but the following items should have been added: Debenture principal payments $93,207; net operating transfers to accumulated surplus ($68,555); and amortization expense of ($376,428) included in the budget should have been deducted.
This means the excess (deficiency) of revenue over expenditures was ($359,907). The projected capital budget deficit is ($189,907).
In financial statements, amounts in parentheses show a net loss, meaning that expenses exceeded revenues.
The audited financial statements disclosed salaries and benefits for council and staff in 2016. They are: Mayor Arlene Nelson – $8,354; Coun. Curt Peterson – $4,615; Coun. Rob Fehr – $7,350; Coun. Gord Christensen – $6,165; Coun. Jody Widmann – $6,250; Chief Administrative Officer Troy Jenkins $72,369 ($61,629 salary and $10,740 benefits and allowances); and Director of Corporate Services Tanya Meston – $43,102 ($34,408 salary and $8,694 benefits and allowances).
The village has $65,075 of taxes in arrears in 2016 compared with $18,593 in 2015.

Lisa Joy
ECA Review reporter

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