Annual auditor report indicates Billings in good financial shape

Township of Billings

Provides good news concerning estimated life of landfill

KAGAWONG – The 2019 audited financial statements for the Township of Billings provided almost all good news in terms of the township’s financial position, what it has in reserve and information concerning the life of its landfill. The only drawback to all the good news is what impacts the COVID-19 pandemic could have on the township.

“The biggest and most important message I have to provide to council is that the township is in a very, very healthy financial position,” said Corey Houle, auditor with Freelandt Caldwell Reilly LLP, in a report he provided on the Billings consolidated financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2019.

“The township has $3,321,491 in net assets with is the most important number one; it means you have those funds on hand to use to pay future debts, for capital needs or other things in the future,” Mr. Houle told council.

“On behalf of council, thank you for all your work, and for the work of (CAO/clerk) Kathy McDonald and township staff, and I echo your statement that we are in a healthy financial position,” stated Mayor Ian Anderson. “And thank goodness we are in good shape with all the unknowns and costs involved with COVID-19, we may need this cushion.” 

In presenting the financial statements to council Mr. Houle said, “none of us know the subsequent effects or unknown costs involved with COVID-19. I’m sure it will have some effects on the township. Right now, we don’t know the total effect; it is beyond the control of council but the township is managing this to the best of their ability.” 

Mr. Houle explained to council based on its financial assets and liabilities as of December 31, 2019, the net assets of the township increased by almost $800,000 in the past year to a total of $3,321,491. The accumulated surplus is $12,042,579.

Total revenues for 2019 were $3,973,881 and total expenses were $3,244,867. The township liabilities were down about $400,000 from $658,795 in 2018 to $223,920 in 2019. It was pointed out the government had advanced the township $500,000 for work on the Main Street Hill which was returned in 2019. 

Mr. Houle noted as well $206,600 had been spent by the township toward contaminated site remediation work at the township office (Old Mill). 

“Under landfill closure and post-closure liability, you had engaged Pinchon to look at the landfill and its estimated useful life,” said Mr. Houle, pointing out the landfill has a much higher life expectancy than had been estimated. “In 2012 it was said the landfill was filling up, but now with this latest report from Pinchon the estimates are that you have 19 years left on the landfill.” The site’s footprint had been increased from 0.8 hectares to a full hectare and changes with MOE (Ministry of Environment) guidelines two or three years ago took into consideration compacting and slope in size of the landfill site. “So, instead of having an estimated three years of life for your landfill, you now have 19 years. This also reduced the amount of liability to the township of about $109,000.”
“I would like to thank Corey, as well as our office staff in preparing and getting this all together. It is a very arduous task, thank you to everyone involved,” said Councillor Bryan Barker.

Council passed a motion accepting the 2019 consolidated financial statement report.