New policy to improve city’s fiscal responsibility

An internal control policy will be implemented by the City is intended to improve the City’s fiscal responsibility, according to Mayor Kerry Cook.

An internal control policy will be implemented by the City is intended to improve the City’s fiscal responsibility, according to Mayor Kerry Cook.

In a letter to council regarding the consideration to establish such a policy, City chief administrative officer Brian Carruthers wrote, “While management has always had the responsibility to ensure that internal controls are regularly reviewed in the context of risk, ensuring that those internal controls are balanced against and proportional to the risks which they mitigate, this policy will set responsibilities with respect to financial management governance and capabilities.”

The policy will cover: budget management with monthly revenue and expense reports reviewed to verify accuracy of account balances and identify irregularities; capital expenditures for which council authorization is required for any expenditure not contained within the approved capital budget or any variances in excess of the approved budget; quarterly reporting with explanations for any revenue or expense variance over 10 per cent with council to be advised of any situation that would affect revenues of expenses in excess of 10 per cent of the approved budget; and personnel where any increase to the overall annual personnel budget be brought to council for approval. Council would also approve any new management positions and any increases to management salaries other than those provided for in a compensation policy, etc.

Coun. Geoff Bourdon called the policy a “good balance” between being responsible and not creating an administrative burden on staff.

Coun. Surinderpal Rathor asked if this policy had been in place earlier would council have known sooner about the fire hall cost overruns.

Bourdon suggested in that case the City was “at the mercy” of the management company for reporting and therefore controls the City had in place would not have been particularly useful.

Coun. Tom Barr, who was the chair of the finance committee in the latter stages of the hall’s completion, said the new policy wouldn’t have made a difference until the end of the project.

“At the very end it would have made a slight difference but not until the very end.”

Cook added the policy shows, “we want to be fiscally responsible.”

The policy was approved by council unanimously.

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