Ag society financial statements add clarity to ag event centre operations

Participants to the Ponoka Ag Society’s (PAS) annual general meeting were briefed last week Monday, Jan. 5

Participants to the Ponoka Ag Society’s (PAS) annual general meeting were briefed last week Monday, Jan. 5 on the new regulations governing the financial reporting procedures of the society and its relationship with the Ponoka Ag Events Centre Society (PAECS).

Just over two years ago, operations of the Calnash Ag Event Centre were taken over by PAS to garner provincial grants only available to ag societies.

It is now understood that a clear separation is needed for PAS and PAECS in order to make their financial statements as a result of recent clarifications that the requirements of financial reporting for the two organizations are different.

From an organizational perspective and in legal terms, PAS has been operating the ag event centre as part of its organizational structure (but without the ownership of the facility), explained Gord Parker, of Rowland, Parker and Associates at the meeting.

“From a government reporting perspective, they have a different set of rules of what constitutes control and then from the other side of it, from an accounting perspective there’s another set of rules,” explained Parker.

“So there’s three sets of standards,” he added.

PAS financial statements changes

The ag society’s financial statements now show more revenue and expenses due to the switch.

Revenues for 2014 were $1.5 million, compared to $431,000 in 2013.  Of the 2014 revenues, $970,000 is from the Calnash Ag Event Centre.

Expenses are also up with total expenses at $1.2 million compared to $371,000 in 2013. Of the 2014 expenses, $817,000 was for the ag centre.

Parker said that while the centre is starting to see profits, he suggests more is needed to ensure successful running of the building. He suggests the money is at a healthy level, but feels next year’s financial statement will give them a better overall look of the finances.

At its inception, the ag event centre was governed by PAECS, which is a partnership among PAS, the Ponoka Stampede and Exhibition Association, Ponoka County and the Town of Ponoka.

The more events that PAS organizes, the better opportunities they have of being eligible for these provincial grants, explained Lauraine Weir, president of PAS.

“If we were running more of the events and money through PAS, that would entitle us to make applications for more money from the government,” she said.

Alberta ag societies receive $17,000 in grants a year and the more events they host, the more money they are eligible for from the province, explained Weir of why ag centre operations go to PAS.

“We can fix the humidity problem in the building,” said Weir of the potential.

The financial operations of the ag centre is managed through PAS, but the two associations are still separate entities with different bylaws and directors.

Operations and working with PAECS

“The ag society is now responsible for the operations and management of the operation side of the facility,” explained Parker.

PAECS still owns the ag event centre but its employees are paid by PAS. Weir says the PAECS board is also the operations committee that is responsible for daily operations and the body that staff answer to.

This operations committee reports to PAS once a month, said Weir.

PAECS board members are Terry Jones, president, Sherry Gummow, vice-president, Cecilia Dykstra, secretary/treasurer; Dale Olson, Danny Jones, Doug Weir, Linc Drynan and Marc Yaworski.

Weir and Yaworski represent Ponoka County and the Town of Ponoka, respectively, while the rest represent the Ponoka Stampede and Exhibition Association and PAS.

Governance and operations policies have not been outlined by either organization.