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Mixed reaction for new auditor
Scrutinizing the books at municipalities and regional districts is creating divisions.
The provincial government has introduced legislation to create an office of the auditor general for local government.
“By law, we must have a balanced budget,” said Mike Macnabb, a Regional District of North Okanagan director.
“If they’re doing any auditing, it should be at the provincial level. It’s unnecessary oversight.”
Macnabb suggests the recent elections demonstrate the accountability officials have to voters.
“The taxpayer has clearly said things are not going in the right direction and they have elected other people,” he said.
However, there is also support for a municipal auditor.
“As audits are done, the full results will be released to municipalities and they will indicate best practises,” said Bob Spiers, a Vernon councillor, of expenditures and operations.
“Municipalities will be able to make sure practises are kept in line.”
Spiers doesn’t believe the process will be onerous.
“Municipalities should find it comforting that someone on the outside is looking at ways to make local government more efficient,” he said.
Victoria says the main purpose of the auditor general is to help local governments find efficiencies in spending and improve program effectiveness by providing neutral, non-binding advice.
It also states the auditor general will not impose solutions.
“It will be up to local governments to decide what action to take on any recommendations provided by the AGLG. Local governments’ ability to make policy decisions about taxation, land use and other services would not be restricted,” states a provincial government release.