Regional district gets glowing audit

The Strathcona Regional District is performing well financially and out shining the rest of its class

The Strathcona Regional District is performing well financially and out shining the rest of its class when compared to other regional districts of similar size.

Brad Piercy of MNP accountants said an audit revealed that the Strathcona Regional District has less debt and a better ratio of assets to liabilities than eight comparable regional districts, including the Comox Valley Regional District, Regional District of East Kootenay and the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District.

“You have the best rating of assets to liabilities. This year you’re at the top, last year you were in the middle,” Piercy told the regional district board of directors at its May 13 meeting. “So you’re better than last year and at the top of the pack this year.”

The Strathcona Regional District’s assets to liabilities is at 4.32 while the median is 2.02.

Piercy told directors that the Strathcona Regional District also had the best ratio of financial assets to liabilities at 2.17 and that it has “the least amount of debt of the peer group.”

Dawn Christenson, the regional district’s financial services manager, said the regional district’s long-term debt sits at $784,000, which is down $49,000 from $833,000, despite the regional district taking on new debt last year with the purchase of the Whaletown Commons parkland site on Cortes Island and the start of the Quathiaski Cove sewer expansion project on Quadra Island.

Still, Christenson said that “barring entering into any new debt, the regional district will be debt free by 2026.”

In 2014, the regional district’s total revenues were $15.9 million, which was $5.1 million over budget and the prior year while total expenses were $10.8 million, up $700,000 from 2013.

There was a surplus of $5.1 million before the acquisition of tangible capital assets and debt principal repayments which Christenson contributed to two anomalies.

“2014 was a very unusual year,” Christenson said. “The regional district was the recipient of three wharves from Transport Canada and Transport Canada gave us some cash to go along with that divestiture, so that did impact our financial statements for 2014.”

The divestiture of the three wharves increased the regional district’s cash and deferred revenue by $2.8 million and increased the organization’s non-financial assets and accumulated surplus by $1.7 million.

The second item which impacted the regional district’s financials was a new Community Works Fund agreement which increased revenue and the accumulated surplus by $3.6 million, and decreased deferred revenue by $3.6 million.

“We’re showing a strong financial position for the regional district and we do see the revenues are quite a bit higher and above what we budgeted and that’s because of those two items,” Christenson said.

The audit, done annually, began in January.