Clarification of the regional district finances

Chief financial officer explains reason for 2013 deficit.

Digging beneath the numbers found in the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN) 2013 financial statement, which was first reported on in the Aug. 6 edition of the Lakes District News, unearths a few interesting gems.

Hans Berndoff, RDBN Chief Financial Officer, said the regional district recorded a deficit in 2013 of $539,962, but they were actually planning to use the prior year’s surplus of $2.6 million. He said a deficit of nearly $540,000 should then be considered a positive instead of a negative that some people view it as.

Berndoff said an explanation also should be made for the provision of $500,000 for future spending that is provided for in environmental services. He said that amount was expensed during the year and is a result of more stringent rules for future landfill closures.

“When we close landfills down the road we incur costs,” said Berndoff. “We spend money then, but…under the accounting rules we have to actually provide for those in financial statements in the years that we’re using up the landfill. We use them up over a period of time, so we will have expensed all that before we actually spend the money. So that was the reason. It was because of more stringent landfill closure and monitoring regulations.”

A reference in the previous Lakes District News article about the 2013 financial statement refers to an increase in staff renumeration of $91,000, but Berndoff said there were no actual salary or wage increases in 2013. He said the $91,000 covers an environmentally sustainability coordinator they hired as well as increased premiums for employee benefit plans.

“We’re very solvent,” he said. “We’ve still got a surplus of $14 million and so I just [want] to make sure the wrong message didn’t get out there to the public.”