For the second year running, Pelham has beaten the rest of Niagara to the finish line in filing a provincially required financial statement.
The due date this year for 2020’s Financial Information Return (FIR) was May 31. The Town made its submission on May 19, the first of all Niagara municipalities.
“In world of municipal finance the Central Niagara mouse has roared again,” CAO David Cribbs told the Voice.
“Why should the reader care, beyond some base amount of civic pride? The answer is that not only has transparency been established in the Town’s financial documents, but there is objective proof that staff have a good grasp of Pelham’s finances and can therefore provide accurate updates to council whenever required.”
Cribbs said that council in turn can make better decisions because staff can provide timely, accurate financial data.
“Kudos to staff, the volunteers on the Finance and Audit Committee and Town Council.”
Mayor Marvin Junkin was similarly pleased, telling the Voice that, “The finance department of the Town, lead by [Treasurer] Teresa Quinlin, continues to demonstrate their commitment to excellence and timeliness by this accomplishment. Their ‘get ’er done’ approach is very much appreciated by all of council.”
Ward 1 Councillor Wayne Olson, a retired Chartered Accountant, told the Voice that the FIR is an important element of the province’s Integrated Financial Information System (FIS).
“I have had quite a bit of experience with FIS as a contributor, a user and as an auditor,” said Olson. “FIS is an extremely disciplined and robust reporting process. It is not susceptible to manipulation because there are many internal controls. It takes skill and knowledge to operate the system and get the most out of it.”
Olson said that being able to rely upon the financial systems means that taxes are being properly recorded, the Town’s payroll is being accurately calculated, “and we are paying for what we have received and nothing more. That’s good for business and it is good for the taxpayer.”
Olson said that the Town’s treasury staff knows the municipality’s accounts inside out.
“It is pretty hard to stump them. I am very happy to observe that the treasury staff is actively engaged in the pursuit of their professional accounting degrees. It is a point of pride for me that my profession, which has given me so much satisfaction, is being so capably represented by our staff and, indeed by the volunteers on our Finance and Audit Committee.”
Saying he supported a culture of continuous improvement, Olson asserted that this was “the true source of job satisfaction and job enrichment. As a Town owe at least this much to our staff. And we owe that much to each other.”
No other councillor responded to a request for comment.