Pelham first in Niagara to file financials with province

pelham town hall

Pelham Town Hall. Photo: The Voice.

Town way ahead of rest of province in submitting Financial Information Return

The Town of Pelham became the first Niagara municipality to have its 2019 Financial Information Return (FIR) approved by the Government of Ontario this month; something CAO David Cribbs said is proof that Pelham is making progress at getting its financial house in order.

“[This is] the direct result of hard work by the entire corporate services team,” Cribbs said.

The FIR is a data collection tool used by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing to collect financial and statistical information on Ontario’s municipalities. It’s a document that’s comprised of a number of schedules, updated each year to comply with provincial legislation and reporting requirements.

“The audited financial statements need to be approved by council prior to filing the FIR, therefore there has been a lot of work by staff to ensure that the audit and the FIR were completed on time, even during a pandemic,” Town of Pelham Director of Corporate Services and Treasurer Teresa Quinlin told the Voice.

The province’s deadline for municipalities to file their FIRs this year was June 1. Yet as of yesterday, only three Niagara municipalities — Pelham, Niagara-on-the-Lake, and the Regional government itself — had filed the information. A scroll through the FIR page on the Government of Ontario website shows dozens of municipalities across the province have yet to file, theoretically putting them all in violation of the Municipal Act.

Quinlin said that the filings are critical in enabling the province to determine allocations for grant money.

“The corporate services department has worked very hard to meet the ministry’s due date for the last three filings,” she said. “It has been the priority of this department to provide timely and reliable data to council and to meet ministry reporting requirements.”

Those interested in viewing the FIR can find the data at https://efis.fma.csc.gov.on.ca/fir/ViewFIR2019.htm

John Chick is a correspondent with The Voice. Reprinted with permission.

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