Port Coquitlam's mayor is unhappy with the province's plans to establish a municipal auditor to oversee civic government finances.
In a letter to Ida Chong, the Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, Greg Moore said Port Coquitlam already has sufficient oversight regarding how local tax dollars are spent. The city's corporate strategic plan has set out a focus for the next decade and ensures that PoCo runs an efficient operation while providing the community with a high level of service.
"We understand the province's wish to have certainty that local governments are well managed," he wrote in the letter. "We encourage the province to improve the existing structure and information requirements where they deem gaps exist rather than add a new layer of costly and time-consuming administration."
He added that for an average of $3 per day, homeowners in the municipality receive water supply, liquid waste disposal, solid waste removal, transportation assets, police and fire protection as well as access to parks and playgrounds, among other things. He said that performance objectives are measured and that interference from the province is unnecessary.
"We are very concerned with the municipal auditor general initiative and the approach by the provincial government," Moore said. "We believe the current accountability framework in place is effective."
In July, Chong sent letters to municipalities across the province asking councils for their feedback on the initiative. She said a municipal auditor general's office would increase assurances that property taxpayers are receiving fair value for the money they give local governments.
The letter included a survey, asking what the role of the auditor should be and to whom the office should report. It also asked whether the office should have the authority to audit regional boards and corporations incorporated by a municipality.
Chong said she would appreciate the response before Sept. 9 but PoCo is considering delaying the completion of the document pending a review and consultation with the Union of BC Municipalities.
PoCo council will vote on the recommendation at a finance and intergovernmental committee meeting next week.