NORTH PERTH – Despite the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, during the North Perth Chamber of Commerce Annual General Meeting on March 23, Treasurer Ron Gillespie announced that the Chamber remains in a strong and viable financial position. Cash reserves from 2019 to 2020 increased by over $35,000.
“The Chamber Dollar program remains extremely popular,” he said. “It increased year over year by more than $12,000 from 2019.”
On the liability side, the biggest change was the $40,000 Canada Emergency Business Account loan which is non-interest bearing until Dec. 31, 2022. If repaid by the end of 2022, $10,000 will be forgivable. If not, the loan will become interest bearing at five per cent starting Jan. 31, 2023, with the principal balance due Dec. 31, 2025.
“This ties directly to the cash reserves previously mentioned so they do kind of balance out that way,” said Gillespie. “Overall our total net assets this year versus last year… do show a modest increase.”
Revenue was similar from 2019 through to the end of 2020 but was arrived at very differently. “In 2019 the Chamber was able to host a variety of very successful and popular events, however, the majority of those events were not possible in 2020,” he said. “Fortunately the Chamber qualified for some government grants – specifically the Canada emergency wage subsidy – this helped offset the decrease in revenue from events we weren’t able to host allowing revenue to remain steady year over year.”
Gillespie gave high praise to Chamber staff members Janet Litchfield and Sharon D’Arcey for managing expenses with most line items showing slight decreases leading to an overall decrease in expenses.
“This generates our excess of revenues over expenditures which in 2020 was $4,838 versus prior year of $4,626,” he said. “It’s always nice to finish a little ahead.”
In 2019 the Chamber started the year with $45,000 in cash, whereas in 2020 it started the year with $60,000 available.
“The Chamber currently has over $96,000 cash on hand,” said Gillespie. “The chamber is in a strong financial place with reserves on hand to continue our mission to support our local community.”
The economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and related government measures have been widespread, affecting almost all businesses and organizations. As the current financial statements are based on the year ending Sept. 20, the Chamber expects a significant impact on their fundraising and donation revenues for the subsequent year. As a result of the restrictions imposed related to COVID-19, some fundraising events have been deferred or cancelled, and donation revenues are expected to be lower.
“So all we can go on is where we are at right now and right now we do have good resources, we have our COVID loan in place, the government weighed subsidies helped us out – the Chamber is in good financial shape,” said Gillespie. “Sharon and Janet continue to monitor our expenses very closely and as treasurer, I’m quite optimistic about the financial future of the Chamber.”
Colin Burrowes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Listowel Banner