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Kimberley Councillor calls for Municipal Auditor
The City of Kimberley is going to take a closer look at just what it might cost to have the Municipal Auditor General examine the way it handles projects.
At Council on Monday evening, Coun. Don McCormick moved that the City CAO be directed to request the services of the Municipal Auditor General specifically around the flume project. This came just after a vote by Council to proceed with the flume project now that funding from the provincial and federal government had come through.
McCormick told Council that he had been researching some of the municipal audits already completed by Auditor General Basia Ruta, and said that they were uncovering and providing valuable feedback on ways communities could save money on big projects.
“It’s not a witch hunt. It’s not blame. It’s looking at ways we can improve,” McCormick said.
However, cost was an issue Council wanted to know more about. Coun. Bev Middlebrook asked what having the Auditor General in would cost the City.
“We have a project that has gone over $2 million over budget, and we’re worried about the cost of the Auditor General?” McCormick said.
“Still it would be nice to know,” Middlebrook said.
Mayor Ron McRae said he would prefer the audit be higher level rather than looking at just one specific project.
“I think it shouldn’t look at just the flume but a history of all projects. There will be a cost to the taxpayer,so be prepared.”
It was pointed out that a previous audit in Rossland had taken six months for the first phase.
McCormick said that Rossland was a tougher case as there had to be some real searching for information that was not readily available. He also said as he understood it the Auditor General preferred to look at specific projects.
“I’d like to know a little more about what it might entail around staff time and resources,” said Coun. Kent Goodwin, although he did say he supported the idea. “It could be very useful but if it ties up staff for six months the benefits may not be worth it.”
“I’d like to know about costs as well,” said Coun. Darryl Oakley. “But I think there could be huge cost savings. There might be some processes that we are missing. I’d like to see both higher level and specifics.”
Coun. Jack Ratcliffe said he’d prefer more information on costs. “I think it will be very expensive. It’s a project in itself, it may even require extra staff.”
Council decided to defer the decision and requested CAO Scott Sommerville to inquire about costs.
Later McCormick told the Bulletin that an audit had three potential outcomes.
“One, we are doing things well; two, we need to make improvements to out best practices; or three, there are major things that need to be fixed.”