A better accounting of City of Port Alberni projects which incur budget surplus positions is in order, Coun. Jack McLeman said.
At council’s Feb. 24 meeting, McLeman said the city needs a system to track completed projects that have surplus budgets, and to make the process public “so if it (money) moves we can follow it,” he said.
The motion arose as a result of a letter and presentation to council by Alberni resident Neil Anderson.
Earlier this year, Anderson questioned city council after the Parks and Recreation department brought up the idea of using money left over from repairing Bob Dailey Stadium to create an outdoor exercise area.
Anderson felt there was some confusion at the time over whether the surplus funds could be used in this manner.
In his presentation on Monday, Anderson said that council should have a clear policy about surplus monies from projects that come in under budget, and that council should do more with his request than just receive it.
To receive it implies no action; to receive and file it is akin to hiding it away, Anderson said.
Surpluses are earmarked for general revenue, but a policy about them “would give a clear picture to the public” of what happens with specific surpluses.
City manager Ken Watson said that the city’s audit committee already performs this function. The committee examines, among other things, project surpluses.
Its deliberations are public, and in another layer of transparency any subsequent recommendations are reported to council.
Watson was tasked with developing a policy to track surplus funds from budgeted projects.
“We think it’s transparent but we still don’t know where the money goes,” McLeman said.