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Aldershot’s Business Improvement Area (BIA) is getting some support and guidance from Burlington’s City Auditor.

City staff were asked to become involved after the BIA failed to complete its annual financial statement on March 1, 2022, a statutory obligation.

The assistance from the City is by mutual agreement and is aimed at strengthening the BIA’s internal control policies and financial procedures.

The BIA ran into difficulties with financial management during the pandemic. No funds are missing and there are no allegations of misadventure.

“There were a series of unfortunate events …. Many of them pandemic related. We lost our first accountant and treasurer early in the pandemic due to child care issues. Then we lost our second treasurer and accountant due to a business closure, who left us in the position we’re in today”, reported Councillor Kelvin Galbraith to a recent Audit Committee meeting. Galbraith is a long-time member of the BIA Board of Directors.

“It’s really an offer of advisory and consulting services”, said City Auditor Maciej Jarczyk.

The BIA has also appointed a new Treasurer and hired an outside bookkeeper to help resolve the issues.

Members of the City’s Audit Committee were generally pleased with how the BIA has handled its difficulties.

“Really pleased by your approach and willingness to work with the City Auditor”, said Mayor Marianne Meed Ward.

“I actually think you have done a stunningly good job in Aldershot”, said Councillor Paul Sharman.

Business Improvement Area Executive Diirector Judy Worsley remains confident that the BIA will become stronger as a result of its recent experience.

“This is an important step in our growth. We’re a younger BIA and we’re growing away from the kitchen table approach to more of a business-like approach. We’ve had some stumbles, but I am confident in the Board and the policies that we are putting together”.

By Rick Craven

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