After the M.D. of Taber Council came out of closed session during their April 25 meeting, Council gave the floor to Michael Zulbach for the presentation of the audit. 

Zulbach began by reviewing the management responsibility page, which he said defines everyone’s roles as far as financial statements and who is responsible for what. 

“Your role as Council is to ensure that you review the information on a consistent basis, which we can see when we look at the minutes,” Zulbach said. “That’s one of the things we look for is that you guys do a review of the financial information, ask questions, and then if there’s things you’re not sure of, you follow up and get those questions answered. Our role as the independent auditor is to look at the information and provide our opinion, so we look at sampling and based on sampling techniques, we look at different items within your financial statements and then from there, we’re able to provide our opinion.” 

Zulbach said that the M.D.’s cash and temporary investments are up to roughly around $600,000. The amount of cash totals $51 million, but about $41 million of that is restricted through deferred revenue, leaving $10 million dollars for operations. 

Trade and other receivables, Zulbach says, went up quite significantly in the current year mainly due to provincial and federal government funding that came in late January and late February. 

Zulbach mentioned that GIC interest was also quite significant this year despite the rates not being as good last year as they were at the end of this year, meaning the expected interest was approximately $234,000. The insurance receivable, Zulbach says, was about $75,000. 

In terms of land, Zulbach says that there was a new subdivision built in Enchant during the year and some lots in it were sold. 

Accounts payable, Zulbach said, were fairly consistent, but payroll taxes changed from being paid before the end of the year to being paid right after the end of the year. That, Zulbach said, was about a $300,000 difference. 

Zulbach also made mention of deferred revenue, which is money that the M.D. receives, but hasn’t used and won’t use until projects are underway or complete. The big project, Zulbach says, is the Horsefly Spillway, and $21 million are connected to that project with $19 million already being spent on it. 

Deferred revenue is actually down from last year, Zulbach says, because there was MSI funding in deferred last year that was used this year and there was no deferred funding this year. 

Capital assets, Zulbach said, have increased in the current year with about $7.7 million in new capital assets and just under $5 million of amortization of depreciation, so the M.D. will use the assets for another year. 

“A lot of it was equipment,” Zulbach said. “$2.9 million in equipment. A lot of that related to graders and all the things that you guys need to run the M.D. There was work in progress totaling $3.4 million, and $800,000 related to the surface road; and money related to the spillway.” 

Net financial assets, Zulbach says, are sitting at just shy of $29 million and they were $26 million last year. There was originally a surplus of $5.5 million, Zulbach, says, but then the M.D. purchased assets totalling just shy of $7.7 million and used assets of $4.5 million. This resulted in a net change of $2.5 million. 

The expenses, Zulbach says, are also down about roughly $2 million this year versus last year, when they were only down $1.1 million. Capital changes are $5.5 million versus just shy of $5 million the previous year, Zulbach said, and the accumulated surplus is in a good place with it being $162 million last year and $168 million this year. 

Zulbach said that the MSI funding was also zeroed out because it was used for this year. 

Coun. Murray Reynolds ultimately made a motion that the M.D. of Taber approve the consolidated financial statements of the year ending December 31, 2022. The motion was carried unanimously.

By Heather Cameron, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on May 10, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from   The Taber Times   Taber, Alberta

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