The Village of Alix received a clean bill of health from the official auditor examining their 2020 financial statements. The topic was discussed at the March 17 regular meeting of council.
Dan Luymes, representing BDO Canada, the village’s official auditor, presented the report on the municipality’s 2020 financial statements and confirmed the audit is substantially finished.
“The objective of an audit is to obtain reasonable assurance whether the financial statements are free of any material misstatement and it is not designed to identify matters that may be of interest to management in discharging its responsibilities,” stated the BDO letter.
“During the course of our audit of the financial statements of the Village of Alix for the year ended Dec. 31, 2020 we did not encounter any significant matters which we believe should be brought to your attention.”
Luymes stated the financial health of the village has steadily improved over just a few years. He noted the village has about $1 million of borrowing ability.
Councillors discussed the audited financial statements with Luymes and Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Michelle White.
Coun. Vicki Soltermann noted that revenue in 2020 was lower than expected and wanted to know why.
Luymes stated village revenue came in about $300,000 lower than anticipated in part due to capital work which was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. He stated contractor tenders came in high.
White stated the village application for grant funding for the lagoon project was less than requested as well.
Soltermann also stated she had a hard time with the budgeted surplus, about $237,000. White responded that all of the reserves are funded and that there was a large amount of deferred revenue not received, specifically from certain grants.
White also pointed out the village has not received an invoice for increased policing costs, estimated at $14,000.
Mayor Rob Fehr asked why the village doesn’t have the invoice, and White answered she was told the invoice was coming from the RCMP but it never showed up.
The mayor seemed perplexed. “How do they expect us to do budgets without having that in our hands?” asked Fehr.
Councillors noted they wanted to discuss reserves in greater depth later in the meeting, and White said it was not urgent to approve the audited financial statements, as the village has a deadline of May 1 to submit them to the provincial government.
Luymes added, however, that if any moves were made to the reserves it may require additional auditing.
White presented a report on the surplus funds left unspent from 2020 and asked councillors how they wished to handle this.
She pointed out the 49th Street infrastructure project wasn’t begun because tenders came in too high.
There was $146,411 collected from the tax base for this project.
The CAO also stated $50,000 needed to be placed back in reserves to balance a fire department equipment purchase, plus the $7,500 usually deposited for future fire truck replacement.
She recommended $50,000 be transferred to a general reserve for unforeseen expenses like legal fees and appeal board hearings.
Councillors unanimously approved transferring $150,000 to sewer reserves, $50,000 to fire reserves and $50,000 to general reserves effective Dec. 31, 2020.
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative reporter