FVRD must improve grant oversight: audit

Documentation needed for to ensure grants to organizations spent correctly, auditor says.

FVRD must improve grant oversight: audit

The Fraser Valley Regional District needs to better ensure that the taxpayer dollars it gives to non-profit organizations are spent appropriately, according to an audit of the district’s finances.

The district – which spans an area from Abbotsford to Boston Bar – collects taxes to be used for regional purposes. It also governs unincorporated areas outside city boundaries, paying for amenities and infrastructure, and awarding grants from a special budget.

In its latest audit, KPMG noted that the FVRD, which has a $16 million budget, enters into contracts with and provides grants to non-profit societies and associations, school parent advisory committees, and individuals who provide services for specific purposes.

Some grants are small, such as $500 granted to the Deroche Farmer’s Market. Others are much larger, and the auditors said the district’s current policies and agreements don’t include a formal requirement for those who receive funds to report back to the district on the use of the money.

KPMG wrote, “The lack of a reporting mechanism back to the FVRD does not allow for management to ensure the appropriate use of taxpayers’ dollars.”

For agencies and organizations receiving relatively small amounts, KPMG said photos, letters or reports would suffice. But they said those agencies applying for more money should submit their annual financial statements along with a review or audit. Agreements should also require that audited statements or financial reviews be submitted after grants are received to account for the FVRD’s funds.

The FVRD’s current grant-in-aid application form states that those applying for grants should summarize how moneys will be used. It adds that “organizations may be required to make a presentation or provide further documentation.”

The form also states that the FVRD can “request a full accounting” of grant money.