Turner Valley Council Responds to CFIB Report


Council has responded to the  Alberta Municipal Spending Watch Report – 9th Edition: Trends in Operating Spending, 2006 – 2016 report published by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) ranking Turner Valley as one of the three worst performing municipalities in Alberta.  Mayor Rowntree requested an immediate and full retraction of the information as presented and the repositioning of the Town of Turner Valley in the rankings as released in the report. Read Mayor Rowntree’s response here:

RE: Alberta Municipal Spending Watch Report — 9th Edition: Trends in Operating Spending, 2006-
2016

Amber Ruddy, Director of Provincial Affairs, Alberta

Amber Ruddy:

The Town of Turner Valley has received the report Alberta Municipal Spending Watch Report— 9th Edition:
Trends in Operating Spending, 2006— 2016 that was recently released and is available to households
through the province of Alberta. The Town of Turner Valley was identified as one of the three worst
performing municipalities in terms of spending sustainability with per capita spending growth of more than 80
percent over the 2006 to 2016 period.

Although the information compiled on the Town of Turner Valley is accurate and reflects the financial
information available through the Alberta Municipal Affairs website, I thought it necessary to respond and
provide feedback on the results and the methodology utilized to compile the financial information. Firstly, the
last few years have been extremely challenging for the Town of Turner Valley, its residents, and other
towns/cities and municipalities in Southern Alberta that have been affected by the 2013 flood, its recovery
and mitigation efforts and projects and initiatives to protect our community from future flood events. In 2016
(your key data for the report focuses on 2006 and 2016), a significant one-time event took place in which the
Town transferred assets to the Sheep River Regional Utility Corporation as part of the regionalization of the
Town’s water utility- an effort to work in collaboration with its neighbors and ensure the long- term
sustainability of a the water resources in the region. This is clearly articulated within the report you drew your
information from under the heading, Town of Turner Valley, Notes to the Financial Statements, For the Year
ending December 31, 2016. It states, “During the year, the Town transferred the water system to the Sheep
River Regional Utility Corporation (“SRRUC”) with resulted in a net transfer of $13.9 M”. This transaction is
not considered a “cash spend” and since the obvious variance from previous fiscal years is not clearly
articulated and asterisked, it skews the ten year spending average and is misleading to the readers (overall
average from 2006 — 2015 Operating Expenditures is actually $5.1 M).

Your definition of “Operating Spending” as defined in the footnote below at the beginning of the document
states:

‘Operating spending refers to all expenses associated with the maintenance and administration of the dayto-day functions of the municipality, for example, employee salaries and benefits, utilities, interest on longterm debt, etc., while excluding capital expenditures and amortization.”

For the Towns of Turner Valley, Black Diamond, the Village of Longview and Foothills County, the coming
together to form SRRUC to jointly own and operate a water treatment plant, transmission system and other
water services has been a very positive undertaking for our community and is just the type of efficiency and
sustainability that I would suspect the CFIB is looking for in the province. These types of initiatives should be
celebrated, in fact! Both Town Administration and Council find the term “being viewed as one of the worst
performing municipalities in terms of spending sustainabilitY a very false and misleading statement.

We expect immediate and full retraction of the information as presented and re-positioning of the Town of
Turner Valley on the rankings as released in the report.

Sincerely,
Gary Rowntree, Mayor
Town of Turner Valley

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