Surplus not as high as anticipated

Lacombe County

Lacombe County, at its regular meeting April 25, backtracked on allocating a projected 2015 $1 million surplus because of an administration error.

Numbers entered were transposed and Lacombe County Council was told April 14 that the surplus would be $931,771 instead of the actual $97,283.

“Had we waited until the financial statements were completed before projecting the surplus for 2015 the transposition error would have been identified and corrected,” Lacombe County Commissioner Terry Hager told council April 25 in his report.

The 2015 surplus was projected this year without finalizing the balanced financial statements. Hager said this is the first year the surplus was projected without balancing the financial statements and was done to give council a chance to allocate any projected surplus prior to the auditor presenting the financial statements to council.

At the April 14 regular meeting council was told there would be a projected 2015 surplus of almost $1 million and recommended council allocate $313,000 to uncollectable property taxes and $600,000 to reserves. But when finishing the final balance and checks for the financial statements, it was discovered that the number in the line item for change in the prepaid expenses and inventory of supplies was transposed. What should have been recorded as a negative ($417,262) was instead shown as a positive ($417,262).

This error resulted in the 2015 surplus being $97,283 instead of $931,771 as given to council at its April 14 meeting. (At its regular meeting April 14 council voted in favour of allocating $600,000 to the tax rate stabilization reserve and $313,000 to uncollectable property taxes.)

With the corrected information on the 2015 surplus, Hager told council it’s no longer prudent to consider reallocation of the accumulated surplus as council planned at its April 14 meeting.

Council cancelled the transfer of $313,000 to allowance for uncollectable property taxes and cancelled the transfer of $600,000 to the tax rate stabilization reserve.

Council, however, still needs to deal with the issue of allowance for uncollectable property taxes and will discuss the issue in May.

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