After successive years of provincial recognition for financial reporting, the City of Port Alberni is now receiving warnings from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs for missing important deadlines.
The 2017 Audited Financial Statements and other reports were supposed to be in on May 15th, but due to staffing shortages within the city finance department, those documents still haven’t been filed, and the Province has been sending letters of warning for the past 2 months.
Mayor Mike Ruttan was visibly upset about the issue at yesterdays council meeting.
He called the situation “extremely concerning” and said he’s “dismayed” by the poor communication between staff and council on the issue.
City CAO Tim Pley said the problem was caused by the retirement of the deputy director of finance and another senior finance staff member, while another person shifted from a full time to a part time position, and the city accountant went on sick leave.
He said two people have been hired to replace the retirements but it will take some time to bring them up to speed on department operations.
There are no penalties for missing the deadline although the province will hold back the gas tax grant until the papers are submitted.
Pley said new people have been hired in the the finance department, and the missing reports will be brought to council for approval at the September 24th meeting, and will be submitted to the Minister of Municipal Affairs the following day.