CFIB members overwhelmingly supported the creation of the Auditor General for Local Government (AGLG). This isn’t a surprise since concern among business owners about the cost of local government is higher in BC than anywhere else in the country. This is one of the reasons CFIB successfully pushed for the creation of an AGLG office a few years ago.
Since 2012, the AGLG has conducted 12 municipal audits. These 12 audits provided 60 recommendations to the municipalities audited, of which the vast majority were accepted and acted upon. These recommendations will help contain costs, find efficiencies, and ensure value-for-money. To help other municipalities gain benefit from these audits, the AGLG has put out two (soon to be three) best practices guides to help provide municipalities with the information they need to operate more effectively and efficiently.
We recently met with Gordon Ruth, the newly appointed AGLG. Mr. Ruth comes from a background perfectly suited to conducting performance audits on municipalities. He has served as the CEO for the Certified General Accounts of BC and the CFO of Metro Vancouver. We were impressed he had read our extensive research reports on municipal taxation and spending issues and had a clear understanding of the important role small businesses play in their communities and the impact of the rising cost of local government.
It is clear from our meeting there is a real opportunity for the CFIB and the AGLG to work together to provide municipalities with examples of how they can contain, avoid, and reduce costs.