RM of Buckland chooses new auditor for municipal audit

The RM of Buckland and RM of Prince Albert Office./Daily Herald File Photo

The RM of Buckland has appointed a new auditor for municipal audits for at least the next three years. At their regular meeting on Monday, Sept. 14 the RM decided to appoint MNP as auditor.

Census, Price-Waterhouse and MNP were the three contenders as earlier this year the RM put out a request for proposals (RFP) to find a new auditor.

“The nice thing about the new auditor that is coming in to take over he will do a pre-audit and make sure everything is on the up and up,” Reeve Don Fyrk said.

With matters before the court involving a previous administrator, the RM wanted to have more clarity on their audits.

The more in-depth service was a big plus.

After some discussion the council eventually agreed that returning to MNP was best for the council at this time. There was a price difference where MNP was around twice as much but the full-service option was best. The local aspect of MNP was also a plus.

“We had MNP before but we thought they do a pretty good job but boy they were expensive,” Fyrk said.

They switched auditors and found another local option for a lesser price. According to Fyrk this option was sold on two separate occasions and the service offered dropped precipitously.

The council also agreed to have the contract reviewed after three years instead of five years. The RM was disappointed with the work of the previous auditor and sent a letter regarding the feelings on the work.

“So the more they sell it the more that you go down the line and they stop caring about you, that’s my thoughts,” Fyrk said.

Had they not come to this decision they would have had to choose prior to next month’s meeting, which required a possible special meeting,

The meeting overall was a good-natured one according to Fyrk.

“I thought it was a very good meeting today, we had some really good discussion it got heated a few times but other than that everything is fine, I think. Things are looking up in the RM, all in all it is quiet,” he explained.

Council passes budget for Planning Commission

Prince Albert District Planning Commission planning officer Jason Kaptein appeared before council with his usual reports on Monday. However, he also took the time to get his budget approved for this year by the council.

“I think it is a healthy budget for next year, it’s a lot less than what we are spending this year,” Kaptein explained to council.

The budget needs to be submitted to the City.

The council passed his budget after a brief presentation,

Last year the budget for the Planning Commission changed. The commission is a partnership between the City of Prince Albert, RM of Prince Albert and Buckland.

“With the changes in the funding in the last year with the city reducing the overall amount that they contribute there has been some changes as to how my position is funded and last year we set up the budget,” he said.

The cost of his position is now shared between the RMs and regional work is billed to the commission at an hourly rate and still funded by all three entities. COVID-19 has also made his budget numbers less predictable but he kept his budget status quo.

 “With COVID this year we haven’t had so many meetings and it is difficult for me to gauge how many meetings I would have had with city staff on a variety of issues. Moving into next year I figured we would leave it the same because I am going to be under budget this year,”

Next year the commission is probably meeting more with the City of Prince Albert.

The recently proposed rec centre project by the City of Prince Albert borders on RM of Prince Albert land and Kaptein expects some annexation discussions and other maters that have him working closely with the city.  

The city contributes $20,0000 and each RM contributes $7,700. His report explained that the budget would be  $35,000 for the planning commission’s work. Building inspections and subdivisions have been pulled out of the commission’s work and are shared between the two Rural Municipalities.

Regional work during the last budget cycle was predominantly with the RM of PA that borders the city of Prince Albert.
As well Kaptein, alerted the council to a new development that is working towards coming to the RM.

“I have been working with a company they are called Pivot Furniture Technologies and they have been interested in the (site) for a little while now and they pulled the trigger and they are committed to buying quite a large building,” Kaptein said.

According to Kaptein the initial plan is to bring in a factory line, to bring in raw lumber and cut it to size and make furniture components for their business, which leases furniture in large urban centers.

The building is around 80,000 square feet. Kaptein explained that there will be challenges to building code because of dimensions. The land is already zoned commercial and Kaptein was merely alerting the council that the discussions were occurring at this point. This is a second venture for the company.  According to Kaptein they were interested in another space elsewhere but the site fell into place in Buckland.

“The new furniture development, that is a big deal,” Fyrk said.