Town presented with 2023 financial statements

During the April 17 Town of Strathmore regular council meeting, the town was presented with their consolidated financial statements for 2023.

Though it is recommended that that the town be annually presented with an unqualified audit report, Leana Ashbacher presented a qualified audit report due to the town’s asset retirement obligation not being met for 2023.

“We brought this to you in our 2024 budget and asked for funding to get some assistance on getting a consultant to help us get this completed, and we are starting the process in 2024 for this,” said Ashbacher. “Our financial assets saw a slight increase in $3.6 million, and this was mainly due to our trade and other receivables. The significant increases were due to recording of our accruable for our municipal sustainable initiatives grant, and our Canada Community Building grants.”

It was presented that the results of local financial statements confirm that the town is on solid financial ground and maintains stable revenue to meet its financial obligations.

The financial statements and audit ensure that the town is following generally accepted accounting principles, and is compliant with municipal reporting requirements.

Strathmore was also shown to have reduced its net financial debt by $5 million, reducing from approximately $6.8 million as of Dec. 31, 2022, to approximately $1.8 million as of Dec. 31, 2023.

Annual financial statements reflect the current financial position of the town and help to identify financial strengths and weaknesses within the organization.

Ashbacher added there was a revenue difference from the town’s budget of approximately $1.3 million due to the Lead by Example event in 2023, sponsorship, donations, wildfire revenues, and utility revenues being slightly up from what was budgeted.

As reported in the expenses section of the presentation, the town had budgeted for $37.9 million in expenses across 2023, whereas the town’s actual expenses came in at approximately $36.3 million.

“That (savings) is significant. It means we are being fiscally responsible with our money and ensuring we are doing the best for our community,” said Ashbacher.

Section 276 of the Municipal Government Act requires that each Alberta municipality prepare annual financial statements and make such documents available to the public with a deadline of May 1. Additionally, each municipality must submit their financial statements to the associated provincial minister by the same date.

The full presentation is available publicly via the Town of Strathmore YouTube channel, and the associated documents are viewable through the town’s website.

John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times