Powassan gets clean audit from BDO, encouraged to tackle tax arrears

·2 min read

It's a clean audit for the Municipality of Powassan after a review of its 2020 financial statements by BDO Canada.

Dean Decaire, a chartered professional accountant and BDO partner at the firm's North Bay and Sudbury offices, appeared before town council to deliver the news and explain his audit in detail.

Decaire said the municipality was on budget for 2020 and also paid down on $690,000 of debt, which he called “perfect,” adding council invested $563,000 in the municipality across several areas.

Decaire said where he would like to see improvement is in the accounts receivable department.

“Your accounts receivable remained a little high at the end of 2020 at $1.2 million,” Decaire said.

“I prefer the $1.2 million not exceed $800,000. It's something to work on for 2021.”

Decaire noted that at the time he made his presentation to council, the municipality had managed to lower its accounts receivable to $1.1 million during 2021.

Decaire is confident the town can get to the $800,000 level by clearing up tax arrears situations with a couple of commercial properties, which combined account for almost $200,000 in back taxes.

“I suspect when these accounts are settled, hitting the $800,00 will be easier,” he said.

Decaire said Powassan's debt in 2020 was a little lower than the previous year at $4.9 million and encouraged the municipality to reduce it further over time.

Powassan also had a reserve fund of about $2.7 million in 2020.

Decaire liked the municipality's approach to its landfill “by incurring costs as you go, which should reduce costs at the end” when it's time to decommission the site.

However, that situation is still decades away because at four cells, with a total combined lifespan of more than 100 years, the landfill is considered to be in its infancy.

Powassan has an annual budget of about $6 million and Decaire says that works out to spending about half a million dollars each month.

He says $3.3 million of that budget comes from taxpayers and the remainder is generated through user fees, such as charging for arena use, and provincial and federal government grants.

Decaire told council that considering most of 2020 was affected by the pandemic, it did well on the expense side of the ledger.

Collecting revenue, on the other hand, has been a challenge, Decaire said, not only for Powassan but many organizations during 2020 because of the impact of COVID-19.

Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

Rocco Frangione, Local Journalism Initiative, The North Bay Nugget

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