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Reports on civic projects under $20M to be waived

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/10/2015 (1326 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A proposal to waive quarterly reporting of civic projects costing less than $20 million was passed on the floor of council Wednesday morning by a vote of 11-5.

Opponents to the move said it removes councillors' responsibility to monitor projects, while those in favour argued the change merely reflects cost increases from inflation and current monitoring is a needless distraction for the administration on projects considered of minimal risk.

“It’s not about the risk – it’s about keeping council informed,” Coun. Ross Eadie (Mynarski) said.

Council in 1999 directed major capital projects valued at $10 million or more be overseen by an administrative committee, which reports quarterly to the finance committee, but the administration is saying that ties up their time on too many projects.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/10/2015 (1326 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A proposal to waive quarterly reporting of civic projects costing less than $20 million was passed on the floor of council Wednesday morning by a vote of 11-5.

Opponents to the move said it removes councillors' responsibility to monitor projects, while those in favour argued the change merely reflects cost increases from inflation and current monitoring is a needless distraction for the administration on projects considered of minimal risk.

"It’s not about the risk – it’s about keeping council informed," Coun. Ross Eadie (Mynarski) said.

Council in 1999 directed major capital projects valued at $10 million or more be overseen by an administrative committee, which reports quarterly to the finance committee, but the administration is saying that ties up their time on too many projects.

The administration is proposing to "adjust" the dollar value for the definition of a major capital project to $20 million.

The administrative report justifies increasing the financial threshold to take into account construction inflation.

The administration cites a city auditor recommendation that suggests "not adjusting the threshold has resulted in expending additional oversight resources on projects with lesser relative project risk over time."

The administration is also proposing that to avoid having to make formal requests for financial threshold adjustments in the future, the threshold be adjusted for construction inflation on an annual basis.

Coun. Russ Wyatt (Transcona), who was the first to go public with his concerns, said monitoring projects valued at $10 million and higher was a key recommendation of the audit into the Norwood Bridge project and should not be abandoned.

Coun. Jenny Gerbasi (Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry) defended the move, saying she accepts the administration rationale.

In a rare move, Mayor Brian Bowman asked CAO Doug McNeil to explain the administration’s position.

The debate pitted members of the finance committee against each other. Finance chairman Coun. Marty Morantz (Charleswood-Tuxedo-Whyte Ridge) said only major projects should be monitored; while Coun. Scott Gillingham said changing the definition of a major project reduces council oversight.

Gillingham (St. James-Brooklands-Weston) said administrative reports now on major projects lack detail and fail to explain significant changes.

 

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

Aldo Santin

Aldo Santin
Reporter

Aldo Santin is a veteran newspaper reporter who first carried a pen and notepad in 1978 and joined the Winnipeg Free Press in 1986, where he has covered a variety of beats and specialty areas including education, aboriginal issues, urban and downtown development. Santin has been covering city hall since 2013.

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History

Updated on Wednesday, October 28, 2015 at 12:25 PM CDT: Corrects that the motion passed, corrects headline

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