Williams Lake one of six cities chosen for performance audit

Williams Lake will participate in an audit of local government performance in managing policing agreements and police budget oversight.

Williams Lake is one of six municipalities that will participate in an audit of local government performance in managing policing agreements and police budget oversight.

The audit is one of several announced last Wednesday by Basia Ruta,  B.C.’s auditor general for local government (AGLG).

They are the first performance audits the new office will undertake.

A number of considerations went into picking Williams Lake and the other five municipalities — Port Alberni, Surrey, Merritt, Victoria and New Westminster —for the policing agreement audits.

For municipalities that rely on policing service from the RCMP there are two types distinguished by the cost share agreements they have with the federal government.

“We picked two that were between 5,000 and 15,000 and then we picked two that were greater than 15,000, and then we picked two municipalities that have their own independent municipal police departments,” Mark Tatchell, deputy auditor general, told the Tribune Friday.

The other factor was to ensure there was a geographical distribution.

“That’s really how we got to picking those particular locations,” he added.

They are performance, not financial audits, and it may turn out that some of the cities being audited are doing a great job of managing its policing agreements, Tatchell insisted.

Audits might also reveal areas where cities can contain costs or make some savings, information that would be valuable for municipalities.

“If there are municipalities that are doing an excellent job, that’s something we want to share with other municipalities.”

When asked to define “oversight,” Tatchell said it’s being used in terms of governance to review the monetary reviewing of the policing budgets.

In February, the AGLG held an audit planning workshop with senior staff from local governments across the province and worked through a series of audit themes and topics.

“Representatives from local governments ranked the topics in terms of relevance, significance and risk,” Tatchell said. “Then we surveyed every local government in the province with 27 audit topics and they were asked to rank them.”

The ranking was not solely about risk either, but also about things that are important to local governments.

Director of finance for Williams Lake Pat Higgins confirmed that no one from Williams Lake participated in the planning workshop, however 60 per cent of local governments, including Williams Lake, responded to a survey, which the AGLG considered a “pretty good return.”

“We also conducted a media scan of local government issues over the last few years in the province and we received correspondence from citizens,” Tatchell said.

They looked at relative legislation and also received requests from local governments to conduct audits.

“All of that went into identifying our audit themes. We had six broad themes and those were published in our service plan at the end of March and then the next step was to identify more specific audit topics.”

The topics, Tatchell added, are completely derived from local governments themselves.

“These have not been picked out of thin air.”

Policing costs for 2012 in Williams Lake totalled $3.8 million, which represents 23 per cent of the total general fund operating budget.

“Three million was budgeted for the RCMP costs under the municipal police unit agreement. The remainder $800,000 was the city’s cost for operational support, safer community program, victim services and watch clerks,” Higgins explained in an e-mail.


Just Posted

Doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine are seen being prepared on Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Decatur, Ga. Hundreds of children, ages 12 to 15, received the Pfizer vaccine at the DeKalb Pediatric Center, just days after it was approved for use within their age group. (AP Photo/Ron Harris)
One death, 60 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

The death is connected to the outbreak at Spring Valley long-term care in Kelowna

(File photo)
Firearms investigation on Winger Road the result of increased gang activity: RCMP

When police attempted to stop a vehicle, it sped away

Shearwater is located in the Great Bear Rainforest on the West Coast of B.C. (Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association photo)
Heiltsuk Nation buys historic Shearwater Resort and Marina

Chief Marilyn Slett said Heiltsuk Nation has always valued its relationship with the company

Prince Rupert was one of the first B.C. communities targeted for mass vaccination after a steep rise in infections. Grey area marks community-wide vaccine distribution. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. tracks big drop in COVID-19 infections after vaccination

Prince Rupert, Indigenous communities show improvement

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The bodies of Carlo and Erick Fryer were discovered by a local couple walking on a remote forest road in Naramata on May 10. (Submitted)
Kamloops brothers identified as pair found dead near Penticton

The bodies of Carlo and Erick Fryer were discovered by a local couple walking

Municipal governments around B.C. have emergency authority to conduct meetings online, use mail voting and spend reserve funds on operation expenses. (Penticton Western News)
Online council meetings, mail-in voting option to be extended in B.C.

Proposed law makes municipal COVID-19 exceptions permanent

A nurse prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press)
British Columbians aged 20+ can book for vaccine Saturday, those 18+ on Sunday

‘We are also actively working to to incorporate the ages 12 to 17 into our immunization program’

The AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine. (AP/Eranga Jayawardena)
2nd person in B.C. diagnosed with rare blood clotting after AstraZeneca vaccine

The man, in his 40s, is currently receiving care at a hospital in the Fraser Health region

Brian Peach rescues ducklings from a storm drain in Smithers May 12. (Lauren L’Orsa video screen shot)
VIDEO: Smithers neighbours rescue ducklings from storm drain

Momma and babies made it safely back to the creek that runs behind Turner Way

Signage for ICBC, the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, is shown in Victoria, B.C., on February 6, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
$150 refunds issued to eligible customers following ICBC’s switch to ‘enhanced care’

Savings amassed from the insurance policy change will lead to one-time rebates for close to 4 million customers

Police investigate a fatal 2011 shooting in a strip mall across from Central City Shopping Centre, which was deemed a gang hit. The Mayor’s Gang Task Force zeroed in on ways to reduce gang involvement and activity. (File photo)
COVID-19 could be a cause in public nature of B.C. gang violence: expert

Martin Bouchard says the pandemic has changed people’s routines and they aren’t getting out of their homes often, which could play a role in the brazen nature of shootings

Most Read