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Estevan’s long-term debt continues to decline

For the year ending Dec. 31, 2021, the city finished with more than $33.13 million in revenues. Expenses for last year were at $31.16 million.
Estevan city council 2021
Estevan city council examined the audited financial statements at the May 24 meeting.

ESTEVAN - The audited financial statements for the City of Estevan indicate the city continues to make progress in 2021 when it comes to debt.

Sheila Filion with the Virtus Group accounting firm presented the document to city council at the May 24 meeting.  

For the year ending Dec. 31, 2021, the city finished with more than $33.13 million in revenues, with nearly $20.8 million coming from taxes and $10.61 million from fees and charges. Another $1.59 million was generated by conditional grants.  

The revenues were comparable with the $33.23 million in 2020.  

Expenses for last year were at $31.16 million, with general government services ($6.78 million), protective services ($6.64 million), recreation and cultural services ($6.15 million), transportation services ($5.17 million) and utility services ($5.23 million) accounting for the largest share.

Expenses for 2020 were slightly more than $30.9 million.  

The surplus for the year was at $1.97 million before provincial and federal capital grants and contributions of $1.01 million, which brought the surplus to $2.98 million.  

“Revenues and expenses were very stable, other than your capital funding was lower as recognized as revenue during the year,” said Filion.

The city’s long-term debt stood at $17.23 million at the end of 2021, down from approximately $21.11 million at the end of the previous year.  

And the net debt, which city manager Jeff Ward said is the number they monitor the closest, was at $16.77 million, compared to $18.33 million the previous year. The net debt is the excess of liabilities versus assets, although in the city’s case, most of the liabilities are in long-term debt.  

The city finished the year with $11.62 million in assets, including nearly $4.4 million in cash, both restricted and unrestricted, and $28.4 million in liabilities.  

Councillor Shelly Veroba said the statements show the city did well amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the emerging supply chain issues.

“I wasn’t expecting it to really look that good in all of the different areas, but it does, and so we were still able to pay down debt,” she said. 

Mayor Roy Ludwig noted the city was around $47 million in debt at one point, but that number has consistently declined by at least $2 million per year.  

Filion said each community is different as far as plans and investment in the community. If a community is able to pay down debt, then that is a positive because it shows a good investment of resources.  

Ludwig added a lot of cities had to spend extra during the pandemic, but Estevan wasn’t one of them.  

Filion said there are three “minor points” for management in the statements, but Virtus did not have any significant issues or concerns regarding the financial reporting. 

“We don’t have any areas of improvement that are significant, certainly to us,” she said.