Penticton city council concerned how RDOS charges member municipalities | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Penticton city council concerned how RDOS charges member municipalities

The RDOS has announced the hiring of a new Public Works Manager.
February 19, 2021 - 8:30 PM

Penticton city council is concerned about how the regional district charges its member municipalities for overhead costs.

The matter came up in a notice of motion presented by councillor Frank Regehr at a council meeting on Feb. 16.

Regehr expressed concerns about the processes and transparency of the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen’s methods of tracking what it charges for overhead costs to its 15 municipal members, to which the regional district budget allocates $4.7 million.

He said one of the regional district’s two overhead processes used to track costs - the time tracker system - has documentation outlining practices and procedures that promise director transparency as well as their ability to scrutinize costs, but those procedures haven’t been done “for some period of years.“

His own attempts to find out more information about how the system tracks costs have been refused.

Regehr said a Feb. 20, 2020 resolution by the regional district board to undertake a broad review of overhead policy was never done.

Regehr used the Campbell Mountain landfill to illustrate some dramatic changes in overhead charges over a three-year period at the landfill, noting a charge of $103,000 in 2019 went to $231,000 in 2020, dropping to $169,000 this year.

The overhead charges tracked by the time tracker program consist mostly of payroll expenses.

Regehr said “some sort of review” was warranted of regional district methods due to the large amount of money involved and councillor Campbell Watt suggesting a third party be assigned.

Councillor Judy Sentes disagreed with the wording of Regehr’s notice, reminding council the proper process for resolution of the matter would be to notify the regional district in writing and have them respond appropriately. She said it would be “insulting to audit the RDOS” and didn’t want city staff spending time on the review.

Regehr called the issue “a gross lack of transparency and follow through on policy,” adding he did not want a conflicting situation with the regional district.

“It’s about millions of dollars being charged out and transparency not happening in this aspect of RDOS operations,” he said.

Council agreed to arrange to conduct a review of RDOS allocation practices, passing the motion 5 to 1 with Sentes opposed.

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