Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb was happy to learn the City has reduced its debt to $9.3 million. Five years ago it was $14.1 million.
“We try to set the goals, but we couldn’t have done it with the work of our staff,” Cobb said after he and members of council received the City’s 2019 audited financial statements and a report from Kane Fraser, MNP Chartered Professional Accountants during Tuesday’s regular council meeting.
Fraser said the City had a financial deficit of $5.5 million in 2013 and in 2019 has financial assets of over $8 million,
“That’s a $13.5 million swing, That’s very significant so I think that needs to be recognized and acknowledged,” Fraser said. “I think the City has come a long way in that time period.”
Coun. Scott Nelson credited the City’s financial staff for hard work, innovation and going after grant funding.
He used an example where the City took money from the Bank of Montreal and invested it into the Williams Lake and District Credit Union and made an extra $300,000.
Nelson said the audited financial statements show the community is in a very sound financial position, taking into account recent floods, wildfires, COVID-19, the mountain pine beetle, and tariffs.
“We are probably 40 per cent through a community transition right now and it puts us in a good position to carry through with our long-term goals,” Nelson said.
Every City department has had to shave and trim and find new ways to do things and it’s starting to pay off, Cobb added.
“I for one am an old time fiscal conservative, but when we started out six years ago we were paying almost a million dollars a year in interest alone and I’m sorry, but I prefer to spend it on streets and roads and other things than to the bank for interest.”
The audited financial statements will now be submitted to the provincial government, along with the 2019 statement of financial information.