Council concerned over survey

Village of Burns Lake Mayor Bernice Magee said the issue of establishing a Municipal Auditor General Office is like opening a can of worms.

Village of Burns Lake Mayor Bernice Magee said the issue of establishing a Municipal Auditor General Office is like opening a can of worms.

The comment came when council discussed filling out a survey regarding the establishment of the office, sent by Minister of Community Sport and Cultural Development, Ida Chong.

In her letter, Minister Chong said establishing an office of the Municipal Auditor General will provide increased assurance to taxpayers that they are getting value for money from their local governments.

Minister Chong said B.C.’s municipal auditor won’t overrule local governments, but performance audits would highlight areas where communities can save money. “The service will benefit the 160 local governments in B.C., especially the smaller ones,” she said.

However councillors say they are concerned with the cost to taxpayers over establishing the municipal auditor.

Magee said to councillors that it would be a provincial appointment.

“As a taxpayer I have to question the benefit of adding the role. The terms of reference for the role do not look much different to the Inspector of Municipalities.”

Councillor John Illes agreed. “There have been a lot of points raised over getting value for money.”

According to mayor Magee, the cost of the Municipal Auditor General position would be applicable to provincial taxpayers, not municipal, as the position is being developed by the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development and premier Christie Clark.

She said to councillors, “The survey questions are interesting to say the least.”

“I think we should get together over lunch and go through the questions together,” she said.

The survey has been sent to all B.C. municipalities and asks questions ranging from what the role of the Municipal Auditor General should be, who they should report to and should the Municipal Auditor General have the authority to audit just municipalities and regional districts or should they also have authority over other local bodies.