Municipal auditor plan questioned by regional mayors

Premier Christy Clark says a municipal auditor would be established by the province to help highlight cost savings measures.

A municipal auditor, as promised by Premier Christy Clark, comes across as a solution looking for a problem, says Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin.

Premier Christy Clark recently said a municipal auditor would be established by the province to help highlight cost savings measures.

While the city always welcomes opportunities for efficiencies, the role of the auditor needs to be better defined, Fortin said.

“Are they looking for municipal corruption? People may have issues, but I suspect the issues are more political,” he added, citing the tax ratio and the city’s involvement in affordable housing as examples of political policies outside the scope of an audit.

The new provincial oversight role seems to offer more benefit to smaller communities.

“More than half of our municipalities have populations under 5,000,” said Oak Bay-Gordon Head MLA Ida Chong, who’s also minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development. “They don’t have the capacity to do value-for-money audits or performance audits.”

Neither Victoria nor Saanich fit that category.

Saanich Mayor Frank Leonard anticipates audits of particular services or project, rather than  the municipality’s operating budget.

“A better use of their time would be to look at a particular service, say policing in Greater Victoria, which is expensive, or a project like building a bridge or an LRT or a sewage treatment plant, and audit that expenditure to see if taxpayers got value for their money,” Leonard said.

“The provincial auditor or comptroller general don’t usually look at the day-to-day operating budget, but if (a municipal auditor) every knocked I would never be reluctant, I’d say ‘Come on in.'”

Chong’s office has sent out a survey to municipalities and regional districts across B.C. The survey asks municipalities if an auditor should have authority over other local bodies as well.

The B.C. government took similar steps to oversee school districts, imposing common payroll and personnel systems on boards of education and appointing “superintendents of achievement” to monitor district efforts to raise student performance.

– with files from Tom Fletcher and Kyle Slavin

 

 

Just Posted

City of Victoria accepts $1 million cheque from seniors home developer

Milliken Development put forward the cash to the Housing Reserve Fund

Technical difficulties delay Victoria’s $500,000 Christmas light village

The Lights of Wonder display was originally set to open on Dec. 13

Saanich-based pharmaceutical company stocks double in value after successful lupus drug trial

More than 40 per cent of patients using voclosporin saw improvements in kidney function

Nighttime closures begin on Bay Street Bridge Dec. 9

The final phase of construction will see the removal of scaffolding from the site

Man allegedly behind Greater Victoria restaurant thefts arrested

Jason Perry is expected in court on Dec. 10

‘Things haven’t changed enough:’ Ecole Polytechnique anniversary prompts reflection

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at the Montreal school on Dec. 6, 1989

Greater Victoria 2019 holiday craft fair roundup

Get a jump on your holiday shopping

Second warning on romaine lettuce from California region as another E. coli case reported

Two cases of E. coli have been reported in relation to the illness in the U.S.

Six B.C. municipalities accepted as interveners in Supreme Court of Canada carbon-pricing case

Victoria, Vancouver, Squamish, Richmond, Nelson and Rossland have intervener status

Residents in B.C. city could face 133% tax hike in ‘worst case’ lawsuit outcome: report

An average home could see a tax increase of $2,164 in one year

POLL: Will you be donating to charities over the holiday season?

Many here in Victoria joined others around the world to take part… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 3

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Many of Canada’s working poor can’t afford lawyers, don’t qualify for legal aid

One lawyer says many people earn too much to qualify for legal aid, but not enough to really live on

Most Read