Audit finds Red Deer’s financial books in good standing

External auditors are showing the City of Red Deer’s financial books for 2011 are in good standing.

External auditors are showing the City of Red Deer’s financial books for 2011 are in good standing.

Coun. Tara Veer, part of the internal audit committee, said overall the city is in a healthy financial position as noted by Deloitte and Touche, based in Edmonton.

“Generally, we see some economic recovery in 2011 over 2010,” Veer said after Monday’s approval of the books. “But in moving forward, we have to exercise cautionary budgeting.”

The internal audit committee is doing a Value for Money audit involving city utilities. It’s looking at the charges applied, as well as the revenues and expenditures.

The audit committee will also look at the city’s reserves.

“We’ll be looking at how much we keep in financial reserves and how that relates to our debt,” said Veer. “My hope is that we’ll be able to establish some benchmarks in the coming year around financial flexibility, sustainability and vulnerability.”

Sustainability measures the degree to which the city can maintain its existing service and financial commitments without increasing debt or tax burdens on its citizens. Flexibility will measure the degree to which the city uses debt instead of increased taxation to meet its capital commitments.

The vulnerability measure indicates the degree that the city depends on other levels of government for operating funding.

Council authorized the 2011 financial statements so they can go to Alberta Municipal Affairs by May 1. Staff was also asked to give a summary of grants annually from the federal and provincial governments.

City manager Craig Curtis said the city hasn’t seen cuts in provincial Municipal Sustainability Initiative funding, but there hasn’t been an increase significantly either.