The Village of Youngstown is in a bit of a conundrum as they continue their search for an auditor before the height of the season begins.
Their former auditor, Roxzana McNiven of Roxzana McNiven Professional Accounting, told administration a couple of months ago she would not be doing any more audits for the village as she had moved to another province in an effort for semi-retirement.
Since then, the village has been speaking with other similar-sized and close proximity communities to determine how much an audit would cost and which were the best companies to reach out to.
An estimate between $7,500 and $10,000 was expected.
Out of the four companies administration reached out to for quotes, one was returned from Ascend LLP based in Hanna for $20,275.
Ascend offered some discount pricing for the first couple of years, offering $4,000 off the first year and $2,000 the next to determine what work needs to be done and then adjust it as needed.
At the regular meeting held on Tues. Dec. 7, Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Emma Garlock felt this estimate was extremely high, ‘2.8 times higher’ than what they normally paid at $7,350.
“$10,000 is more than enough for an audit of a municipality,” said CAO Garlock. “Ratepayers would not appreciate their taxes going up because of this.”
“Over double [in price] is quite a jump,” added Coun. Ken Johnson
She recommended council wait until the next meeting on Wed. Dec. 22 to seek other options.
Coun. Johnson offered to contact his own accountant as well to possibly get a quote which council and administration were agreeable to.
Water rate increasing?
The Henry Kroeger Regional Water Services board has been considering raising their prices by two per cent.
Another meeting will take place before Christmas to decide but it was shared at Youngstown’s council table that they may have to increase their own prices to be in line with the board.
It is currently $2.89 per cubic metre from Henry Kroeger, proposing an increase to $2.93 per cubic metre.
The village currently charges $3.40 so it was suggested to raise the price to $3.50 per cubic metre.
No motions were made at this time as this was an information item for council and administration to be aware of.
Sewer charges are not expected to rise.
Lot purchase stalled
A person recently offered to buy a lot that was recently a part of the village’s tax recovery sale. But the village has yet to make title as there is a backlog at the land title’s office, putting a pause on the sale.
Council agreed they would hold onto the property for now until the paperwork with the province is completed before agreeing to sell the property located within the village.
Administration will reach out to the potential buyer informing them of the situation.