To the Editor:
Budget meetings are coming up for the Town of Creston. I wanted to look at the financial statements prior to the budget meetings to understand the town’s financial state and see if the financial reporting was relevant, reliable and comparable to other communities’ financial information (which is the main criterion of financial reporting and wise decision making). From these statements I wanted to see how much we have coming in and from where — and see how much we owe, and to whom — long term and short term, and therefore see if the budget allocations and later budget decisions were wise.
I could not get these relevant figures, and the town council does not get them either — no one has access to them now or access to them prior to budget decisions. The town council is given a net figure, I was told by the head of finance and corporate services, and from this individual figure the town council makes its budget decisions. The finance and corporate services official would let me download 2011 financials, but that does not make relevant 2013 decisions.
If any corporation, company, or household ran their finances like this, they would probably be a lost cause very shortly. How can any institution know how to wisely handle their future finances without knowing where they made and will make their revenue from or who they owe money to? I was astounded. No wonder taxes are apparently higher in Creston than they are in West Vancouver, Victoria or Kelowna.
This interim 2012 financial reporting (statements) needs to be freely available to all citizens of Creston, and for sure every town council should study them, before making any budget allocations.