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No monthly debate of County committee spending, Council told

May 24, 2019   ·   0 Comments

By James Matthews

Dufferin County isn’t set up to effectively accommodate monthly debate into the expenses of each council committee. 

Councillor Bob Currie, the mayor of Amaranth, has said he would like to have a debate of county committee accounts every month. And, he said, it makes good financial sense to do so. 

“We got the reports every month for all committee of their expenses,” said Coun. Currie. “I don’t want to hear the word micro-manage. To me, this is not micro-managing.” 

Anybody with a business that has $80-million being dispersed annually would want to know just where all that coin is going, he said. 

County councillors years ago would receive monthly expense reports for the committees of which they were members, he said. 

“It can be done because it’s all recorded in the Treasury office. To me, this is just plain good sense. We all say we want an open and transparent government. That’s fine. Here’s your chance.” 

He said his motion had nothing to do with negative thoughts about staff capabilities. If anything, he said, the motion supports county staff. 

But Warden Darren White, Melancthon’s mayor, said such a practice would be too cumbersome for county staff. 

Warden White said county staff were tasked to look into what it would take to make Coun. Currie’s motion a regular practice. 

In reading the response from staff, the warden said a monthly average of 1,436 invoices are processed by the county. On average, there are 542 payments each month, he said. On average, about $5-million goes out the door each month. 

He said as much as 86 per cent of that money spent each month is based on some sort of contract, utility, or agreement. 

It would take staff about 22.5 hours every month to provide copies of every invoice, he said. 

“We would need to hire an additional part-time person to achieve this as we do not have the capacity within our existing staff to complete this task,” Warden White said, as per county staff response to Coun. Currie’s motion. “We are already stretched thin.” 

There are also privacy concerns for contractors’ and outside businesses, and the additional expenses in paper and other supplies, said the warden. 

Coun. Currie said he doesn’t want to see every simple invoice. Rather, a monthly update about where each committee and department sits financially in the annual budgeted allotment would suffice, he said. 

“I don’t think I’ve seen a financial statement yet in the last six months,” he said. 

Coun. Wade Mills, Shelburne’s mayor, said he believes it was never intended to lobby for every physical invoice. He suggested the motion be amended to allow for an update of accounts paid on some kind of regular basis. 

Coun. John Creelman, Mono’s deputy mayor, said financial controls and safeguards at the county have improved dramatically since the 1990s when he was on council.. 

“My focus is on ensuring safeguards are in place and that we do get quarterly reports on expenditures,” he said. “I think it’s important to know we can see an invoice if we ask to see it.” 



         

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