ERIN – The province requires municipalities to submit audited financial returns for the previous year by May 31, but Erin blew that deadline by more than nine months, with draft 2021 finances only presented to town council on March 9.
Offering an explanation for the delay, town finance director Wendy Parr said she discovered, after asking BDO Canada for an update last fall, that the lead auditor handling the town’s file had left the organization.
“What followed was weeks of new audit queries for, in our opinion, obvious omissions from the previous lead auditor,” Parr told council.
Those queries continued into this year, Parr said.
If financial statements, which report on the town’s financial condition, aren’t received, critical federal and provincial infrastructure grants are withheld.
Traci Smith of BDO Canada presented council with an overview of the outdated financials last Thursday.
The town’s accumulated surplus, a key signal of Erin’s resources for the future, was $61.65 million by the end of 2021, most of which could be found in tangible capital assets such as roads and buildings.
“Bad things happen, and nobody can predict the best-laid plans of mice and men,” councillor John Brennan said, asking how the town could prevent a filing delay in the future.
Smith said BDO wouldn’t be bidding on the job to audit the town’s 2022 financials, and suggested Erin would be best served by another firm.
Council voted to approve the draft financial statements.