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Editorial: Yorkton finances appear in good order

In her report to Council Monday Amber Matechuk – City Controller, noted the City’s debt limit is $42,000,000, but only $7,650,908 is outstanding.
The fire hall in Yorkton is close to being paid for. (File Photo)

YORKTON - At Monday’s regular meeting of Yorkton Council, the Yorkton’s 2021 Audited Financial Statement was unanimously approved. 

In the world of municipal affairs, the item is about as minor as it gets. 

The audit is required by the province as a sort of overseeing check to make sure a municipality’s books are in order. It’s a good process to go through, but at least locally hasn’t unearthed more than a dollar here or there being recorded in the wrong column in years. 

Of course learning that our taxes dollars are being cared for properly is a good thing, albeit not unexpected either. 

What was more encouraging is that the City of Yorkton has been holding the line rather effectively in terms of borrowing money from financial institutions. 

In her report to Council Monday Amber Matechuk – City Controller, noted the City’s debt limit is $42,000,000, but only $7,650,908 is outstanding, including $2,364,503 on the fire hall, $1,707,000 on the water treatment plant and $3,579,405 on work on Dracup.  

As Matechuk also noted, this leaves the city with approximately $34,300,000 of debt available. 

Now just because the city could borrow a lot more money doesn’t mean it should, but it is good to see that the municipality is operating well under its borrowing limit leaving a cushion for both planned and unexpected projects moving forward. 

As one might expect, there are always project on the horizon to be funded. 

Future requirements for long-term debt may be needed to finance the Deer Park Clubhouse, potential Gallagher/Kinsmen Arena upgrades, as well the York Road Reconstruction, stated Matechuk. 

The real key to keeping borrowing reasonably under the borrowing cap is for the municipality to have the capacity to deal with the unforeseen issues that might pop up. What those might be of course are an unknown, but having the ability to borrow if needed in the midst of a crisis is a positive. 

Similarly, the city has just shy of $1 million in a ‘rainy day account’ -- $148,000 was added in the past year from operating surplus. 

The ‘rainy day account’ is basically an undesignated reserve, a place the city puts aside dollars when available that it can dip into to help fund unexpected cost, generally on the operating side of things. 

While $1 million doesn’t go all that far in terms of annual city spending, the account is again a buffer that is in place to help the municipality deal with unexpected costs. 

Over recent years, city property taxes have certainly risen, but when you look around the community you can see where the money has often gone from repaved Broadway Street, to the water treatment plant, fire hall, Deer Park Clubhouse and more, all of which are positives for Yorkton’s long term. 

And, the projects have happened because the tax dollars have allowed the city to largely pay as it goes, rather than being massively in debt with little financial wiggle room. 

The current edition, and past Councils should take pride in managing the city’s finances well.

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