by Calli Stromner
Morinville – Council accepted the 2013 Audited Financial Statements provided by Hawkings Epp Dumont, the auditing firm contracted by the Town. Under the Municipal Government Act, the town must prepare an annual financial statement that follows generally accepted accounting principles for municipal governments. The Town must also make the financial statements and the auditor’s report available to the public.
“The audit itself went very smoothly,” said Hawkings Epp Dumont Partner Curtis Friesen during a presentation to Council. “It was a good process and there were no issues. Essentially the news is positive and the town is in a better position than it was last year.”
The auditor’s report to Council found no significant deficiencies in the Town’s accounting practices or policies nor did it “detect fraudulent or illegal activities.” Hawkings Epp Dumont also reviewed the Town’s 2013 FCSS Annual Report, its compliance with the Local Authorities Pension Plan, and the Town’s statement of Library receipts and disbursements; there were no issues identified with any of these areas either.
Net municipal taxes account for 41 per cent of the town’s revenues while water and waste water fees account for a combined 23 per cent. Water and waste water revenues were $600,000 higher than budgeted because of a settlement with Epcor that saw lower water rates take effect. Development permits and associated fees were about $80,000 lower than budgeted as were the penalties and fines at $40,000 under budget. Fines accounted for a total revenue of $480,000, including photo enforcement at $267,000 and approximately $200,000 for late penalties on tax and utility payments. The remaining $13,000 in revenue in this area was for tickets issued by the Planning & Development office and Bylaw officers.
On the expenditures side, Public Works takes the largest chunk of the tax dollar at 25 per cent and the largest variance was in Parks and Recreation, posting $231,000 over budget due to additional salaries. All other line items, including Protective Services, General Administration and Planning and Development were relatively close to the 2013 budget and to 2012 levels.
The Town posted a deficiency of $1.9 Million on paper, but due to government grants of $3 Million and a valuation of tangible capital assets of $7.4 Million, the Town posted a surplus of $8.5 Million and an accumulated surplus of $130 Million with a combination of net financial assets (cash), tangible capital assets and prepaid expenses.
“We’re required to present it this way to meet accounting standards,” said Friesen. “When you work out all the numbers, you come out with a $1.6 million dollar surplus.”
The 2013 Audited Financial Statements are publicly available on the Town of Morinville website at www.morinville.ca.