WINNIPEG —; City Council has voted to double the reporting threshold for major capital projects.
Projects will now require a $20 million price tag if they are to be subjected to quarterly reporting to the standing policy committee on finance.
The threshold used to be $10 million for quarterly review but an auditor’s report submitted to council in May recommended increasing it to adjust for construction inflation.
At City Hall on Wednesday, councillors voted 11-5 in favour of implementing the auditor’s report recommendation.
Transcona city councillor Russ Wyatt was one of the five who voted against the recommendation.
He says the current council “isn’t out of the woods yet” when it comes to establishing an increased sense of transparency at City Hall.
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Councillor Marty Morantz was among the 11 who voted for the recommendation, saying the move will free up city assets and keep pace with inflation. The $10 million figure was introduced in 1999.
Mayor Brian Bowman, who was elected on a campaign that included promises about restoring trust and openness at City Hall, says the move won’t take information away from councillors, “The new capital expenditure reporting is available online and that’s every month, not every quarter and that does invite questions by members of council.”
Things got heated between Wyatt and Morantz during the debate over whether or not to implement the auditor’s recommendation.
Morantz revealed Wyatt had turned down an offer from the mayor to act as a liaison between the newly appointed chief project management officer and council.
Wyatt later said that kind of information should be kept private, “I was taken aback. That was something very unbecoming of a councillor .”
Morantz told reporters, “I was very surprised to hear this morning that councillor Wyatt had been offered this position and declined it given the fact that he basically has been saying that we’re somehow being less accountable by accepting a recommendation from our own auditor.”