City denounces Bill 202

Red Deer residents would likely see their property taxes rise if a municipal auditor general’s office is created, says Mayor Morris Flewwelling.

Red Deer residents would likely see their property taxes rise if a municipal auditor general’s office is created, says Mayor Morris Flewwelling.

Flewwelling said the average citizen should be concerned if Bill 202, a private member’s bill, receives approval in the Alberta legislature.

This Municipal Government Act would create an office of the municipal auditor general, which would conduct performance audits of municipalities to ensure they are spending taxpayer money wisely. That office is expected to cost the province between $500,000 and $700,000 to create.

But city officials are concerned as to who will pay for the increased scope of work that the municipal auditors will have to do. “It will mean extra work for city staff and increased audit costs,” said Flewwelling.

On Monday, council approved administration to write a letter of concern to the Standing Committee on Community Services, which is seeking input. The city would also like someone from the province to give a presentation on the proposed bill.

Councillor Lynne Mulder said the proposed bill makes her “blood boil over.”

“We already have an auditor that audits our own books,” she said later. “We are committed to improving all that we do in terms of financial practices and procedures.”

Calgary-Hays MLA Art Johnson put forward the bill because he found that there is an auditor general at provincial and federal levels, but not at the municipal level.

He hopes a municipal auditor general could help determine whether improvements need to be made and thereby help communities save money.

Councillor Larry Pimm said this new office would only muddle an already complicated process.

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