As required by the Municipal Government Act, each municipality must submit its financial information return and the auditor’s report on the financial information return, and its financial statements and the auditor’s report on the financial statements to the Minister by May 1 of the year following the year.
Council accepted the audit and financial statements after a presentation was made by Jeff Faupel with Endeavor Chartered Accountants at their meeting on Tues. April 9.
One of the biggest changes compared to previous years was how the summary and other guidelines are laid out as their findings are now spread over two pages instead of one.
The summary now leads the report as well as their opinion.
Responsibilities of both parties are outlined on the second page.
Overall, the town’s financials were ‘present fairly, in all material aspects’ according to their financial audit opinion.
Council, under the guidance of Faupel, went over the total revenue and expenses.
Revenue was slightly down by approximately $200,000 as it was budgeted at $7.5 million while expenses exceeded their initial expectations by surpassing their predictions at $6.9 million to $7.5 million.
Overall user fees and taxes have been consistent with other years but transportation, protective services, and wastewater treatment and disposal made an increase to their expenses.
They don’t budget for amortization which was approximately $985,000.
The Town is also waiting on certain grants that would have increased its total revenue.
A total of $1.4 million in deferred revenue from 2018’s budget and $1.3 million from 2017 comes from a few important programs and grants.
The lion’s share of this came from the Alberta Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) but the town is still waiting on the Federal Gas Tax Fund and the Special Areas RCSC Recreation Advance at $141,139 and $180,000 respectively.
The MSI is expected to go towards town infrastructure projects while the federal gas tax has been allocated to certain eligible expenditures Hanna has yet to place money.
Faupel mentioned that the town has no real long-term debt but they have entered a new lease for their grader.
They have already been leasing for years but it is now recorded in a new fashion under the financial statement.
Despite the dips in cash flow, an accumulated unrestricted surplus of $4,819,153 was obtained as well as a restricted surplus, dedicated to projects like the spray park, of $29,200,696.
The Endeavor audit team was in the town office from March 4 to 6.
They met with the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) and Director of Corporate Services to review the overall documents and confirm any changes from the previous year.
Infrastructure Project update
MPE Engineering has begun work on the detailed design portion of the 2019 Infrastructure Project in anticipation of being ready to go to tender as of April 25.
The detailed design work with the majority of the jobs consisting of coring and paving is being completed on the infrastructure priorities such Stephens Crescent, Winkler Drive, Pioneer Trail – Hwy 9 to South Municipal Road, Shacker Crescent, 12th Avenue, Winkler Drive lane to 3rd Street and James Crescent.
The tender will not be awarded until such time as the 2019 MSI contributions from the province and the allocations of the Federal Gas Tax have yet to be confirmed.
CAO Kim Neill predicts the projects are estimated to cost more than the funds that will most likely be available.
Once the project has been tendered and the bids received the award of the contract will be brought back to council for their approval.
If the tender results reveal costs that exceed the budget available administration will bring recommendations to council on which of the projects listed are priorities.
Hanna promotional video
Brad Haugen, a new resident to the Town of Hanna, came to council with an interesting proposition regarding advertising for the municipality.
Haugen recently moved from Fort McMurray after finding reasonably priced homes in Hanna.
He had fallen for the great location as there is ‘“no major wind like Lethbridge, and is a reasonable distance to the cities”.
Although he has been involved with the oil and gas industry for much of his life, he is also a musician and voiceover talent who has owned a recording studio since 2007.
He used his abilities to create a two-minute video on the benefits of living in Hanna, hoping it will draw traffic and possibly land new residents.
Council thanked Haugen for the presentation and praised him for his initiative.