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Strathcona Regional District looks financially sustainable — auditor

Finances relatively stable over past few years
Strathcona Regional District office. Photo by Marc Kitteringham/Campbell River Mirror

The Strathcona Regional District is in a good financial place, according to their newly audited financial report that was presented to the board last week.

Every year the regional district’s finances get audited before they are submitted to the province.

“The audit went quite well this year,” said regional district chief finance officer Mike Harmston.

At the meeting Cory Vanderhorst, a representative from MNP, the accounting firm that did the audit, presented their findings. The regional district had a total revenue of $26,753,397, with $15,696,473 of that going to expenses. On the report, there is a listed surplus of $11,056,924, but Harmston and Vanderhorst both said that most ($7.6 million) of that $11 million was allocated to the regional district’s Connected Coast project.

“A lot of the funds have already been spent on fibre, work crews and equipment, but we don’t see the relative expense until we start operating it,” Harmston said. “The (surplus), is not profit or freely available cash.”

Cash coming in to the regional district this year was $12,623,933, after spending on capital and infrastructure projects and debt payments, the total heading to surplus was $3,551,963. That brings the district’s total surplus up to $57 million, which includes $31 million worth of investments in physical assets.

Vanderhorst also gave the board two measures of exactly how the regional district is doing, a sustainability ratio and a look at how the regional district’s assets are aging. The sustainability ratio looks at the regional district’s financial assets and compares them to their liabilities.

If the ratio is greater than one, Vanderhorst explained to the board, that means the regional district has enough cash to pay for future projects. If it is less than one, it means that they are using their revenue streams to pay for things that have happened in the past. The regional district has been sitting with a ratio of 2.09 for the last few years, which means they are in a good financial place.

The second ratio looks at how quickly the assets are aging. That value is currently 62.5 per cent and has gone up over the past few years. That represents “a significant capital infrastructure investment and capital projects,” Vanderhorst said.

The report also included a list of remuneration for both directors and any employees who made over $75,000 last year. The highest paid director was Jim Abram, with total remuneration and expenses of $76,759. The top paid staff member was chief administrative officer David Leitch, with a reported remuneration and expenses of $185,912. The full report is available online.

Director Claire Moglove asked for a report on a breakdown of director remuneration, which will be available at the next board meeting.

The report also lists payments to suppliers. The highest paid was Baylink Networks Ltd. at $2,264,069. Baylink holds the construction contract for the Connected Coast project.

RELATED: SRD draft budget stays relatively stable

Construction contract awarded for SRD’s Connected Coast project

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