‘Basically running blind all year long’

In viewing a bank statement provided by Chief Administrative Officer Annette Plachner, at the Feb. 19 regular council meeting, Mayor Howard Helton questioned why it did not include all the bank accounts as the sample that was provided to Plachner at last month’s meeting.

“We seem to be the only organization that can’t get actuals versus budget on a regular basis, not even by the end of the year. Why is that?

“Basically we run blind all year long,” said Helton.

“We do a budget for May 1 and then we have no idea, we wait a whole year to know what we are spending against what our budget numbers were. We see nothing!”

“We will as soon as the audit is done,” stated CAO Plachner, “and the adjusting entries are done in my system.”

Plachner then said, “Yeah, I can give it [financials] to you every month if you want to. I can give it to you right now, is what I’m trying to say.”

“Why couldn’t we have had it, let’s say, in September then?” asked Helton.

“Especially for expenses so as we go through the year we know how our spending is, because right now we don’t know what our spending is until the auditors come in and a year ago the auditors didn’t give us any financial statements until June.

“So council had no idea of where we were with regards to our actuals as compared to what we had budgeted for.

“And most every other jurisdiction that I’ve been talking to and any committees that I am on, we already have started this process before the end of the year,” said Helton.

“Committees are different than municipalities,” replied CAO Plachner.

“No they aren’t any different,” said Helton.

“Yeah they are,” argued Plachner.

“They aren’t,” said Helton, “because they require the same information. We require the same information going into the new year and Municipal Affairs recommends and suggests, really quite strongly, that you don’t just carry your other one [previous budget] as the interim [January 1]. They allow us that, but that’s not the best practices and we have to stop doing that.

“I just can’t believe that somebody can’t [get us financials], these numbers are in there every month, every month those payables are there,” stated Helton.

“I’ll make another motion. I think we did one last year.

Maybe this will clarify it a little bit more,” concluded Helton.

Council approved a motion unanimously that directs the village CAO to provide council with financial updates which contain ‘actuals versus budget’, a bank reconciliation listing with all [bank] accounts and a statement of the financial position reports to be presented to council in 2020 on March 18, June 17, September 16, November 18; and a statement of the financial position as of December 31 at the Dec. 16, 2020 meeting.

Projects update

Council walked through the 26 old business items.

Benci had provided a list with 14 projects and some quotes, however, council requires, where possible, to get two quotes as ‘best practices’ was adopted by council.

“We want to do our due diligence,” stated Helton adding, “I’d like written estimates on all the projects so we are not ballparking” when doing up the budgets.

New library secretary

Council approved the appointment of Christine Wolf as the secretary to the Morrin Library Board as council learned the former secretary, David MacLeod was no longer a resident of Morrin.

Council also accepted the written resignation of the Library Board chair, Darcy Graham.

In new business, council approved permission for the Morrin Lions Club to build a gazebo made from a steel granary similar to what is in Trochu for the new ‘green space’. The Lions Club hopes to have it in place before the 2020 Homecoming.

Clarity provided

Reason for engaging Ms. Sloboda was due to the fact that CAO Plachner and Coun. Wilton had not been in attendance at the Roles and Responsibilities session provided by Municipal Affairs in a meeting in Big Valley, Alta. on Jan. 14 2020.

Council had engaged Ms. Sloboda for her presentation to council with pertinent information specific to the Village of Morrin.

He also clarified that council had tabled the Nov. 20, 2019 minutes because the CAO had added comments there were not expressed in the meeting and therefore non-compliant with the Municipal Government Act (MGA, S. 208 (1) (a)(i). that stated minutes are to be recorded without comment.


J. Webster

ECA Review

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