During the latest council meeting, the 2023 budget audit was presented by Virtus Group, showing that Estevan’s debt has decreased since the previous year.

Neil Fense from Virtus Group said they didn’t find anything that would affect their ability to approve the financial statements.

The financial statements showed that Estevan’s financial assets increased from $11.8 million in 2022 to $13.04 million in 2023. The city’s net debt decreased from $11.9 million in 2022 to $8.6 million in 2023. Revenues for the city came to $36.06 million, while total expenses were $35.1 million, resulting in an annual surplus of $960,941.

“The only area that we did find, was some rent fees that were recognized in 2022 that related to 2023,” said Fense. “We discussed this with management, and it’s already being addressed, with a new process being put in place if this should happen again in the future.”

Councillor Tony Sernick also asked for clarification regarding a $5.8 million variance from 2022.

Fense explained that these figures are due to a surplus of funds from the Canadian Community Building Fund that had accumulated and were then used in 2022.

“There were some bigger projects completed that year. That’s why you see such a big surplus because those projects are going into the capital assets and get recognized over time through amortization,” he said.

He noted that these variances are expected and are related to grants and other funding programs.