NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association request that the Government of Alberta amend Section 17 of the Business Revitalization Zone Regulation to relax the requirement from an Audited Financial Statement to a Review Engagement.
WHEREAS Section 17 of Alberta Regulation 377/1994 with amendments up to and including Alberta Regulation 84/2011, Business Revitalization Zone Regulation, states that each year following its financial year, the board must submit an audited financial statement to the council and any reports required by the council by the date agreed upon with the council;
WHEREAS the legislative requirement for a board to submit audited financial statements annually to the Council requires a professional accountant to prepare the audited financial statements;
WHEREAS the cost to have a professional accountant prepare the audited financial statements places an undue financial hardship on the Board; and
WHEREAS relaxing the requirement in Section 17 from an Audited Financial Statement to a Review Engagement by an Auditor would reduce costs while still ensuring accountability and transparency of public funds.
It has been brought to the City of Camrose's attention by local Business Revitalization Zone that the requirement for audited financial statements is onerous and quite costly in relation to the annual budget. In 2012 City Centre Camrose's annual budget was $67,500 and the cost of the audited financial statement was $4,049.85 which works out to approximately 6% if their annual budget. These dollars could be better utilized on other initiatives. It has also been identified that accouting firms would rather deal with larger audits for larger organizations and therefore it can be somewhat difficult to find a firm that will take on the audit.
This issue has been added to the MGA review so stakeholders can consider if there is an appropriate balance in the annual reporting requirements between financial controls and accountability for the use of tax dollars by Business Revitalization Zone Boards.
AUMA considers this response.