Village of Morrin auditor gives 2022 financials clean bill of health
The Village of Morrin’s auditor gave the municipality’s 2022 financial statement a clean bill of health. The presentation of the financial statements was made at the April 19 regular meeting of council.
The official auditor, Peter Stone, CPA, of Ascend Accounting’s Hanna office, said after completing the analysis of the village’s 2022 financial statements the result was a clean audit. Stone further stated the auditors didn’t have any findings in the course of the audit.
Stone noted auditors examined financial records submitted by the village office as of Dec. 31, 2022 using standard accounting policies and had no serious issues to bring to councillors.
However, he did make a suggestion. Stone suggested the village’s cash on hand, approaching $700,000, seemed to be more than the municipality needed for day to day transactions and noted placing some of it in a GIC or similar reserve could generate some interest, especially as interest rates are relatively high right now.
He further noted the village currently has $220,000 in a GIC.
The auditor stated Morrin's revenues in 2022 appeared to be much the same as 2021, but up about $17,000. Expenses were also much the same as 2021.
Coun. Lorraine MacArthur asked about the amount of unpaid property taxes climbing to about $250,000.
Village Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) noted that is related to the former Gas Plus property and every year the unpaid tax bill grows higher.
Councillors unanimously approved the 2022 audited financial statements.
Plachner noted she did not have a report for council as she is currently working on the 2023 village budget.
Lack of space
MacArthur asked her peers to discuss construction storage equipment placed on Main Street near the village entrance, the equipment in question being linked to the new school project.
MacArthur stated the containers were sitting in the roadway and she felt there isn’t enough room for two-way traffic to proceed safely. She suggested the containers be placed closer to the nearby church.
Plachner stated she would have the complaint forwarded to the contractor as soon as possible.
Old library building
Another subject linked to the new school, the Morrin library’s current building will be surplus once the new school is up and running. Mayor Chris Hall suggested scrapping the building which appears to be a mobile home or trailer.
Coun. M’Liss Edwards disagreed, stating someone may want to buy the structure for storage. Coun. MacArthur suggested advertising it for sale.
The discussion eventually wound its way around to vacant village lots for sale. Councillors unanimously passed a resolution that village lots be advertised with a realtor.
Bank loan for lodge
Coun. Edwards brought forward a request from the Drumheller Seniors Foundation regarding the Sunshine Lodge expansion project. Reading a letter from the foundation Edwards noted the foundation's Sunshine Lodge project apparently requires more money and the foundation was requesting the village’s permission to get a loan for that purpose.
Edwards stated the foundation was told the provincial government would grant no more money than what was already promised.
The CAO noted the foundation requires permission from all of its members, including Drumheller, Munson, Delia and Morrin, before seeking a loan.
Councillors approved the foundation's request by a 2 to 1 vote, MacArthur voting against. MacArthur stated she understood the loan was necessary but doubted whether the project “will ever happen.”
Councillors discussed an email from resident John Stanley requesting Bylaw 386, which increased village water bills this year, be posted to the village website as it appears to be missing.
The CAO stated she would comply but also noted the bylaw in question was mislabelled, and was actually Bylaw 390.
Plachner stated village residents were notified through a mail-out that water bills increased.
Edwards stated village councillors had no choice but to raise water bills when Drumheller increased the price of bulk water.
Public Works update
Councillors heard the regular report of Public Works Foreman Dave Benci, who noted his department was dealing with a water leak near a vacant lot that was affecting a nearby residence. Benci stated it appeared to be a slow leak and was proving tricky to locate.
Coun. MacArthur asked if it was just spring runoff, but Benci responded he could see the water on the surface.
“It’s a water leak,” said the foreman. “Absolutely.”
Benci also mentioned some asphalt on a nearby road that was starting to sink.
The foreman further noted his department is looking at pothole problems in the village. Benci stated he’s found nine spots that require attention.
The foreman stated the village’s water fill station has had a price increase. The price per cube of water has increased to $4. Edwards stated it could have gone up to $5.
Lastly, Benci reported he continues to speak to contractors about developing a campground inside the village. Advice from MPE Engineering, noted Benci, was to speak directly to contractors and obtain a quote. Councillors accepted Benci's report as information.
Councillors ended their meeting by moving into closed session to discuss the revised Starland Regional Fire Agreement.
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, East Central Alberta Review