The City of Williams Lake has been able to chip away at its overall debt; it was revealed during Tuesday nights city council meeting.
The decrease in debt was announced during the City’s 2019 audited financial statements and auditor’s report.
The City saw their debt at $9.1 million, compared to $14.1 million in 2014.
Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb said that it took a lot of work from staff to see the decrease of nearly five million dollars.
“Thanks to the staff for the work they’ve done in making it available to us, the work that was done to get us there so we could save money, do things differently, and watch our spending,” he said. “We’ve made the decision that we weren’t going to borrow any money unless it was absolutely necessary because paying off interest is not the fun part.”
Cobb said that he is excited that he was able to deliver on one of his original campaign promises.
“We are partway there. We are going to keep on it, and we’ve got by with the last five years with a zero per cent tax increase,” he said. “There’s a lot of work from everybody, and good things will come eventually once we get out of debt instead of paying a million dollars interest, we can start putting it into the pavement.”
Also announced in the audit was that the City collected $33.2 million in revenue in 2019. The annual expenditures were $28.6 million resulting in the City finishing the fiscal year with a $4.6 million surplus.
That was mostly due to the gain from Community Forest investment and the non-completion of some planned capital projects that have now been moved to be completed this year.
Another note from the audit was that the City had a financial deficit of $5.5 million in 2013 and, in 2019, has financial assets of over $8 million.
Kane Fraser, with MNP Chartered Professional Accountants, who did the audit, said that to see a swing of over $13 million, is very significant, and that City has come a long way in seven years.
The audited financial statements will now be submitted to the provincial government and the 2019 statement of financial information.