DELTA – The Corporation of Delta is wondering why a provincial audit into its finances is taking nearly two years to complete after it opened its books for greater public scrutiny.
In May 2013, Delta was selected along with five other municipalities by the newly created office of the Auditor General for Local Government (AGLG) for a performance audit on achieving value for money in operational procurement.
In a press release issued by the Corporation of Delta last week, Mayor Lois Jackson expressed concerns regarding the audit. Although Delta has spent many hours facilitating various provincial audit teams, no recommendations or reports are expected to be released by the AGLG until March 2015.
According to the release, "A key concern from Delta’s perspective is the time taken by the province to conduct this nearly two year performance audit. In comparison, Delta’s independent municipal auditor conducts and
completes its annual audit of Delta’s financial statements, including a formal report to council, within six weeks."
Coun. Sylvia Bishop, who participated in interviews with the AGLG, said she thinks it has been a waste of money to undergo the exercise without a timely report.
Bishop questioned the greater scrutiny of operational procurement, adding the system is already transparent. All procurement items over $50,000 must appear before Delta Council for approval and become part of the public record. As well, each item is accounted for by the finance department, showing where the money is budgeted.
Bishop said she expects the final report will be "glowing" in favour of Delta.
But council candidate Heather King said she welcomes the audit as an "important and objective pair of eyes are needed to scrutinize the inner workings of local government."
King said if all goes well with the audit, then taxpayers can be provided with a sense of comfort that their "hard-earned money is in good hands." If not, then changes may need to be made, she said.