Town finances dominate Nov. 12th meeting of council

The discussion featured good news and bad news

The discussion featured good news and bad news.

By Kevin J. Sabo

For the Advance

Town of Castor council received budget-related bad news and good news during the Nov. 12th council meeting.

First the bad news. Being well into the fourth quarter of the fiscal year, the year to date revenues should be sitting at around 75 per cent of funds collected.

Unfortunately, as of the end of September, this isn’t the case with funds collected sitting at 70 per cent, leaving a shortfall.

Budget news was not all bad. Town expenditures, which should be sitting around 25 per cent remaining going into the fourth quarter, show a slight surplus 27.5 per cent, meaning that the Town has not spent all the money that has been allocated.

“We’re below spending in most categories,” said Town of Castor CAO Christopher Robblee.

“We should see numbers … around 25 (per cent) or less for most categories.”

During the financial discussion of the meeting, Robblee clarified a statement that was made at a previous meeting in regard to town banking.

When discussing the banking options and making his recommendation, he clarified that he was using information from the last time Alberta Treasury Branch and Vision Credit Union submitted bid packages for council’s discussion.

The last time the banking institutions supplied bid packages was 2018.

“We will more than likely go for general bid on our general banking accounts in either 2020 or 2021 depending on when the last bid was done,” said Robblee.

“The practice is every three to five years.”

After further discussion, it has been decided that administration will prepare a list of requirements for Town banking needs and put out a request for bids in 2020.

The Town of Castor does maintain accounts at both banks in town, so that residents can pay their bills at either institution, though as reported previously, the majority of the Town accounts remain at Alberta Treasury Branch.

Other highlights of the Nov. 12th meeting of council:

• To cut costs, a new fire pump for the town water system has been removed from the 2020 budget, with a savings of approximately $60,000.

• Taxes sit around 95 per cent collected, which is comparable to previous years. Robblee was not optimistic on being able to collect the remaining outstanding tax.

• Council reviewed changes needed in the Councillor Code of Conduct, as per the Municipality Accountability Review that was conducted earlier this year.

• Administration has recommended changes to the Mechanical Services position, removing the arena time from the position. Currently the Mechanical Services position is spread between the arena, bylaw enforcement, safety, and mechanical repairs.

Council agreed to remove the arena from the position list of responsibilities.

• The arena tin project was completed at a cost of just under $16,000, around $1,000 under budget.

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