Susan-EsauIn 2012, Waskaganish First Nation has managed a total budget of $35 million. The four major funds are the General Operating Fund, the Special Projects Fund, the Capital Additions Fund and the Rental Housing Fund. These all had operating budgets that summed up to approximately $26 million.
The largest capital project, in terms of scope and budget, is the construction of the 1st phase of the Community Centre at the cost of $8 million dollars for this past fiscal year only. To encourage entrepreneurial ventures, the Council of the Waskaganish First Nation has granted $1 million dollars to Natamuh this past year from the La Paix des Braves Agreement.
While our funding has increased we also have an increase demand of services for a fast-growing population. Our facilities are getting huge and so are the expenses to operate and maintain them. Not only the facilities but our community is expanding, as well as the infrastructure needed to service our needs. It is getting complex to sustain a strong financial management that works for us. We have to be attentive in allocating our funds wisely to prevent waste. Funds are being invested on a continuous basis to gain any interest as much as we can. We follow the financial requirements for each fund to make money available when needed.
Major decisions affecting the financial management of the Waskaganish First Nation is the responsibility of the Finance Committee. I am pleased that WFN has taken this step; it will strengthen our goal in keeping our Nation in a good financial health for years to come. Having endured a long struggle with the financial recover,; I believe we have a strong group of people to ensure that we do not fall in the same pattern again. We have evolved a great deal in a short time. Our Nation is working with long-term plans and a vision to improve the way we serve our community’s needs and all members have a role in the development.
This coming year, we are building the 2nd phase of a multi-million dollar Community Centre. We manage the funds for this construction. We have advisors but the decisions are made within our office. For that, I am very proud of our evolution in this regard. My dream is that one day soon, we will no longer need Consultants and our educated youth will take over that role.
The audited financial statements are presented at our Assembly and the detailed copies can be made available to any band member that requests them. I thank the accounting staff and my Assistant for providing the financial information to me and the WFN Council when we need it.
I want to acknowledge and thank the Chief and Council for your collaborative approach when making financial decisions. I admire the mutual respect that we have. Also, to my fellow colleagues, I thank you for your hard work. Keep it up!
Meeg-wetch Nootah-whey Naan for your continuous love and blessings on our people and community! I look forward to the new fiscal year with hope and great expectations.
Have a great year!
Susan Esau,
Chief financial officer