Cornwall based accounting firm CKDM presented its audit report to Merrickville-Wolford council last Monday night.
Overall, the report was positive and showed a significant improvement in the Municipality’s finances since the firm first did their audit in 2015. In 2015, the firm had to redo the audits for 2013 and 2014 because the finances were in such disarray. “It looks like your process is pretty strong,” Ross Markell of CKDM told council. “It looks like you are getting good information to stay close to budget.” The report stated that the Municipality ended 2016 with a surplus of $85,000.
The Municipality is also in a good position in terms of its reserves which are at 28 percent of the operating budget. “Municipalities should have reserves of 25 to 50 per cent of the operating budget,” Ross said. “You need to keep it there going forward.”
One area of concern that the report did mention was an increase in tax arrears, or people not paying their taxes. Although the Municipality has made significant progress in their administrative processes, the auditors suggested that they take a look at their process and policies for tax collection to ensure it is easy for all residents to pay their taxes easily and on time.
Although the auditors were confident in reporting that they believe the Municipality is heading in the right direction, they mentioned that this audit is a very broad view of their finances and doesn’t go into any detail. The auditors are going to meet with staff to further discuss some of the administrative concerns they found during the audit, after which council may direct them to do some further investigation into specific areas so they can ensure they continue to move in a positive direction.