Friday, April 27, 2012

Clearwater County in good shape: Auditor

Mountain "goat" photographed downstream of Ram Falls in Clearwater County, Alberta. This nimble footed animal, believed to be related to the plains antelope, liked to show off to visitors at the Ram Falls observation site

Story and photo by Helge Nome

At the Clearwater County Council meeting on April 24, auditor Phil Dirks from Hawkings Epp Dumont LLP reported that the net financial assets of Clearwater County had increased by some $4.2 million over the last year, $2.7 million of which consists of cash. Operating revenue was approximately $1.7 million higher than budget, mostly from higher than expected well drilling taxes, offset by lower than anticipated property sales. Operating expenses were approximately $1,7 million lower than budget.

This leaves the County of Clearwater with a whopping accumulated surplus of $395.5 million! So, why increase taxes?

April 29 editorial note: Having spoken to Clearwater Councillor Earl Graham the matter of the $395.5 million in the county financial statements was cleared up. This number includes "tangible capital assets" such as roads and other infrastructure owned by the county. The confusing part is that this number is listed as "accumulated surplus" and transferred to the "Consolidated Statement of Operations" sheet where it appears along with revenues and expenses. Does that make sense?

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