To hear things are well-balanced when it comes to finances and budgets in Meadow Lake.
Dallan Oberg, a North Battleford-based accountant, recently met with city officials to discuss the city’s 2017 draft audited financial statement, and he praised both staff and council for their work to stay close to budget so far this year, and their good job at managing the city’s finances in a responsible way for taxpayers.
For revenues, the city budget for $10.8 million and received $11.2 thanks to an $818,000 boost in land sales from selling the city’s trailer court late last year. On expenses, Oberg was pleased with how closely the city was able to stick to its projections by spending $10.5 million instead of the forecasted $10.7.
“Your difference budgeted to actual is $200,000, or two per cent of your overall expenses,” Oberg told city officials. “You should commend yourselves.”
Another strong area was the city’s overall net surplus, which was $1.5 million. Oberg said this means the city is aware of its ratepayer base, and it also means the city will have some cash going forward for capital expenditures. He also noted the city’s debt also dropped $168,000.
Oberg said the city’s tax and utility collection numbers could use some improvement. While the amount of tax arrears was lower than it was in 2016, the accounts receivable in utilities were still $35,000 higher than last year.
Overall, he said the health of the municipality's finances was very good.
“You are forward-thinking in what needs to be spent to run the organization,” Oberg said. “You’re planning with your tax dollars and how your revenue is received and where it’s spent. You are doing things in a pace where we don’t have to give recommendations to improve.”
At the same meeting, the city decided to use the $669,000 from land sales to spend on the city’s new fire truck, which cost $341,000 and wasn’t originally budgeted for. The rest went to outstanding costs from the sewer replacement on Cochin Ave.
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