By Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
CLIVE – The official auditor for the Village of Clive gave the municipality a clean bill of financial health after examining the 2020 financial statements.
The report was made at the April 12 regular meeting of council.
Councillors heard a presentation by representatives of BDO Canada, Irena Sinner and Kaitlin Loeppky. They noted they audited the consolidated financial statements because the public library was included too.
They stated the audit came out “clean,” meaning all records they examined appeared accurate.
Some points they mentioned included that the village received more grant money in 2020 than expected, which was mostly due to the pandemic.
Also, the village’s surplus was higher because the pandemic forced cancellation or postponement of some projects.
Sinner stated that the Village of Clive is in a strong financial position.
Councillors approved the 2020 audited financial statements after allocating funds to reserves.
MP worried about debt
Blaine Calkins, MP for Red Deer-Lacombe, appeared before council via Zoom to discuss issues fo concern. Calkins said he much prefers to appear in person, but has had to cancel virtually all in-person events due to the pandemic.
Calkins stated 2020 was probably the most difficult year in his political career.
He said it’s odd that feedback he gets from the public appears to be split: half of the people want more COVID restrictions, and half want fewer.
He said the pandemic is causing people to miss out on a lot, and is also costing taxpayers a lot of money.
Calkins stated the current debt level of all levels of government combined actually exceeds Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP).
Luckily interest rates are relatively low right now but the MP stated once recovery starts to begin and the rates go up that massive debt is a problem that keeps him awake at night.
Many questions surround the upcoming federal budget, which will be announced April 19 he noted.
Councillors asked their MP about rural crime, carbon capture, pipelines, vaccine rollout, the federal government’s response to the pandemic and rural broadband internet.
During her regular report to councillors Kenney touched on several items of interest to readers.
She noted that planning for the annual FunFest summer event is moving ahead. Several pandemic-friendly events have been proposed so the event should be able to meet guidelines regardless of measures in place this summer.
The village is moving ahead with a tax recovery sale, and Kenney noted four properties are involved. She said the properties in question are about two years behind in unpaid taxes.
The village currently has 26 cat and dog owners who haven’t yet obtained their 2021 pet licenses.
The CAO stated those names have been handed over to the animal services officer for in-person meetings.
Kenney also said the fire department responded to a fire on private property March 31. The property owner will be billed for the response, as per the recently approved fire control bylaw.
Mayor Henry noted she would like to get more information out to the community about firefighting costs, as a few media reports have illustrated how costly this can get for property owners.
“People are surprised,” said the mayor, also noting the bill for fires on private property go to the property owner.
It was noted that the fire department also recently responded to a grass fire that was apparently intentionally set by a youth.
Kenney stated the village is working with Clive School on a fire awareness and prevention session.
By Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter/ East Central Alberta Review