Interim Director of Finance Leslie Ford hands the reigns over to new Director of Finance Rowena Atienza-Paquette at the Aug. 18 council meeting. (Marisca Bakker photo)

Telkwa hires new financial director

Rowena Atienza-Paquette takes over as interim director Leslie Ford gives mid-year report to council

At its Aug. 18 meeting, Telkwa council was introduced to Rowena Atienza-Paquette will take over as director of finance from interim director Leslie Ford.

Atienza-Paquette was with the Village for almost five years as a finance assistant and was interim director from 2015 to 2019. She then worked for the Town of Smithers finance department for a year.

“She has worked with us previously and I’m happy to have her back,” said CAO Debbie Joujan.

Council voted in favour to make Atienza-Paquette Chief Financial Officer.

“My goals are to work with the Village of Telkwa Team in fulfilling our strategic priorities and to maintain the overall fiscal health of the organization through diversifying revenue sources and supporting economic development,” said Atienza-Paquette.

“Telkwa is at a very exciting phase right now where we are seeing the efforts of many dialogues and pursuit for funding by Council and the whole organization to be able to deliver higher service levels to the community.”

Leslie Ford took over the position temporarily earlier this year after retiring from the same position at the Town of Smithers last year.

“We would like to thank Leslie Ford for jumping in and doing such a great job on the finance position since January until now,” added Joujan. “She was called on at short notice and I appreciate it.”

Meanwhile the Village of Telkwa is doing well financially according to Ford.

Ford presented a mid-year financial report to the council during the Aug. 18 meeting.

“All of the department heads are doing a very good job monitoring budgets,” said Ford.

She added another piece of good news is that the Trobak Water Tower Project is under budget and the grant project has reached substantial completion.

Ford did not find any areas of concern in the general operating funds except for the fact that Recycle BC stopped paying the Village a monthly amount as of January 2020. However, the Village has received more grants in lieu of taxes, more community hall revenue and more Small Community Unconditional Grant revenue than budgeted. These additional revenues more than offset the Recycle BC funds.

On the property tax front, Ford said tax season went well. More property owners have paid year-to-date this year than this same time last year. Only 5.3 per cent of the current taxes or user fees billed in May are currently outstanding.

There is only one property currently with delinquent taxes owing. If these taxes are not paid by Sept. 28 the property could be sold for taxes. At a previous meeting council decided not to take advantage of the Province allowing municipalities to defer tax sales until next year due to COVID-19.


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