Financial losses and incomplete accounting records have the Prince Albert Exhibition Association (PAEX) board looking at different options for moving forward in 2020.
In audited report of the organization’s financial situation showed a loss of $433,662 in 2019. Compounding the problem is the fact that financial date from the 2018 summer fair is incomplete and unreliable, according to the auditor who presented the data.
Despite those difficulties, PAEX president Robbie Ross said he’s not worried about the association’s future.
“Not really,” Ross said when asked if he was concerned by the financial report. “(The auditor) says we’re still in a good position, so we’ll go with that.”
Infrastructure repairs are the primary reason the PAEX ran such a large deficit in 2019. The biggest project came last June, when crews repairing a broken water line discovered asbestos.
“It ended up costing us quite a large sum to dispose of,” Ross said. “Once they uncovered it, we couldn’t just cover it back up. We had to dig ever farther to remove it all.”
It wasn’t the only project to significantly increase in price either. A roof repair project, originally estimated at $7,000 ended up costing around $100,000.
Ross said many of the facilities are rapidly deteriorating, and while they do the best they can to keep up with repairs, they occasionally get more than they bargained for. He also said the board approved every expenditure.
“The facilities have been neglected for decades,” he explained. “Every time we open something up we’re having to go way farther and spend way more money than intended.”
The 2018 financial records were another concern that came out of Wednesday’s meeting. The auditor reported that a number of 2018 summer fair expenses were not entered properly, including liquor and concession expenses. Telephone expenses for several months were also missing, and rental rates where incorrectly recorded.
“Anything around the summer fair for last year is not accurate,” auditor Candice Hesje-Luchinski told the PAEX association membership. “The data was not entered in last year’s numbers, and your previous auditor just kind of threw some stuff together.”
Hesje-Luchinski was unable to provide details on why the 2018 numbers were incorrect since she did not do the audit that year. She stressed that as far as she could tell, no money was missing, but said the 2018 financial report should have shown higher revenues and expenses.
The PAEX has physical cash of $209,000, along with a term deposit of $100,000.
The organization elected six new members to its board of directors on Wednesday. They met immediately after the meeting to begin discussing plans for the future. Ross said they would have more details about those plans in the next week.