By Adam Brazeau
CORNWALL, Ontario - As officials in the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry face cold facts about this winter's toll on the annual budget, an auditor's report for 2013 is helping to break the ice.
The United Counties of SD&G County Administration Building at 26 Pitt Street in Cornwall.
SDG finished 2013 in a surplus position, according to the Five-Year Financial Review released at the United Counties Council monthly meeting by its auditors Craig, Keen, Despatie, Markell LLP.
"Although the yearâs surplus was small relative to SDGâs budget, the $242,000 surplus is a positive financial result for the county," said Shauna Baggs, a communications assistant for the United Counties economic development team.
Ian Murphy and Ross Markell, auditors and partners of the firm, commended council for maintaining its capital assets and a solid reserves balance.
Additional capital assets of $10 million were completed in 2013 while the yearâs depreciation was $7.5 million; resulting in a net book value increase in the capital assets now valued at $84.6 million.
âOver the last five years, SDGâs expenses have increased by a total of only 1.5 percent, an amount much less than the rate of inflation,â explained Markell.
An accomplishment that council says didn't come easy, since dwindling federal and provincial grants have increased pressure on their tax rates.
âI can tell council that your internal controls are good, your financial position is good, and your accounting records are good,â he said.
But despite their finances being in good shape, SDG continues to receive more demands for public services than dollars to meet them.
âCouncil and staff are keenly aware our financial pressures and set realistic priorities when budgeting. Controlling costs and working within approved budgets is everyoneâs main concern,â said Vanessa Bennett, county treasurer.