Town council to consider to financial-related notices of motion

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Town council will consider two motions in the coming weeks, one to look at current and past finances and a second to look at finances going forward.

Councillor Bart DiPasquale brought forth a notice of motion towards the end of Monday night’s town council meeting to have the town’s finances and financial procedures audited. DiPasquale cited the fact that “so many people” have went “in and out” of the town’s financial department and believed it would be appropriate to have an independent auditor review the town’s finances.

If DiPasquale’s motion were adopted, the town would prepare an RFP before advertising for the service.

“It’s our duty to make sure the integrity of our finances are in good order,” said DiPasquale, following the meeting. “Council has a heavy role in assuring our finances are maintained properly.”

DiPasquale said it was a good practice to do adding he is not implying there is anything wrong with the town’s financial situation.

“I’m not raising a red flag at all,” he said, reiterating, “with all the personnel changes there, I thought it would be an ideal time to do it. It’s a good practice to have an outsider’s view.”

Although the town parted ways with director of corporate services Val Sequeira two weeks ago, DiPasquale said this notice of motion wasn’t directly related to that but rather something he has been considering for some time.

Believing the chances of council adopting the motion are 50/50, DiPasquale believed it was worth trying to see if the town’s finances should be audited.

“It’s my view,” he said. “It may not go anywhere.”

Councillor Diane Pouget also had her eye on the town’s books, as she put forth her own notice of motion that all department heads reduce their 2014 operating budgets by five percent and have that reduction ready by January 2014.

Pouget said she originally thought a ten percent reduction may be in order but after speaking with financial officials with the town, she was advised that was not attainable.

“Five percent is reasonable, it’s attainable,” said Pouget.

Pouget said residents are both concerned and angry that a significant tax increase could be on the horizon, particularly after she said residents read media accounts that quoted chief administrative officer Mike Phipps suggesting service cuts and tax increases due to debt-related matters.

“Five percent will help us significantly,” said Pouget.

The reductions should come from the specific departments and not due to council direction, she added.

“It’s my belief it should come from them and not from us,” said Pouget.

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