Vernon eyes audit review

The City of Vernon is turning to the provincial government to cut spending and be more efficient.

The City of Vernon is turning to the provincial government to cut spending and be more efficient.

Council will apply to become one of the communities reviewed by B.C.’s new auditor general for local government.

“They come in with a level of detail and they are unbiased,” said Coun. Mary-Jo O’Keefe of the auditor, who will provide municipalities with non-binding advice.

“We can access a better level of expertise and focus on our scope of service.”

Coun. Catherine Lord is confident an audit can benefit the city and particularly local taxpayers.

“During the election, there were a lot of questions about how the city is run and how many employees we have,” she said.

Lord believes the audit is preferred over the city hiring a consultant to do an internal core review because the provincial audit will cost nothing and there will be fewer city staff directly involved in the process.

“An external audit can be transparent,” she said.

The city decided to apply to the auditor after a recommendation from the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce.

“The timing for this audit could not be better as several candidates, some of whom are now elected officials, campaigned for a core review of services, as a check on the value for money taxpayers are now receiving,” said Ken MacLeod, chamber president, in a letter.

“As a review of this scope would entail considerable expense to the city, if conducted by private auditors and consultants, having the province provide the service at their cost would be a prudent and sensible option to pursue.”