Auditor gives Brockton clean bill of financial health

·2 min read

BROCKTON – According to the year-end draft financial statement presented by John Bujold of Baker Tilly, Brockton is in relatively good financial shape, with “reasonable reserves, a growing tax base and long-term debt used to purchase tangible assets.”

Reserves exceed long-term debt, which Bujold described as a positive indicator.

Deputy Mayor Dan Gieruszak commented on “some fairly large swings due to COVID.”

Bujold replied that “proper procedures were followed by the municipality during COVID,” with some projects delayed by the pandemic now being completed.

Coun. Tim Elphick asked about borrowing over the next five years.

Bujold’s response was that “changes in interest rates will increase the cost of borrowing,” something that “needs to be managed by the municipality to ensure you can meet your financial obligations, which you most certainly can.”

That said, Coun. Steve Adams commented that “things are changing a lot, and the next council will need to be business savvy.”

Among the information Bujold provided for council was the following:

- Brockton’s financial figures show a surplus of just under $61 million, $59 million of which is in tangible capital assets;

- $13.3 million in reserves;

- cash at the end of the year of $8.9 million, a decrease of $1.5 million; and

- just under $7.3 million in long-term debt, an increase of $408,000.

Bujold noted the municipality is “still well-positioned for borrowing,” and still “well within the guidelines set out by the ministry.”

Brockton ended the year with a surplus of $3,677,000 which includes amortization of tangible capital assets.

Figures show an increase in taxation of $300,000, or three per cent.

Following the presentation by Bujold, council approved the report by Trish Serratore, chief financial officer.

In her report, Serratore said 2021 “was another unprecedented year for the municipality, with many operating challenges due to COVID-19.”

She noted staff met the need for facility closures and program cancellations, increased safety protocols, and, unfortunately, layoffs, as well as many other challenges. All of these had financial implications for the municipality.

Her report noted the need to delay many capital projects and the continuing impact of COVID on the supply chain, resulting in increased costs and lack of resources. In 2021, the municipality received $93,188.50 COVID Restart Grant money from the province (in addition to the $267,100 received in 2020).

As of the end of December 2021, revenue was under budget by $374,181, a slight improvement from 2020.

Operating expenditures were over budget by $746,028; however, this included the transfer of the previous year’s surplus of $644,028.

Many capital projects were deferred to 2022 or completed within budget.

The draft financial statement is available on the municipal website.

Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times