The Cariboo Regional District will be hiring an external auditor to review the Barlow Creek Fire Protection service budget
That decision was made following an in camera meeting by the Board on Friday.
“There was some discrepancy,” says CAO John MacLean.
“We had a budget overrun in 2016/2017 within the Barlow Cree Fire Department. We want to take a deeper look into what caused that overrun, what systems fell down, and what systems we need to put in place to ensure that we don’t have a similar circumstance ever appear again in any of our other services.”
MacLean adds that the audit is not about pointing fingers or finding blame.
“It’s going to take as long as it takes to make sure that we’re being thorough and responsible,” he says.
“From our initial reviews majority of the expenditures were related to what would normally be considered fire department activities. We just need to make sure that that is correct.”
The Barlow Creek Fire Protection service saw a tax increase in the 2018-2022 five-year financial plan, due to the service’s expenses being significantly higher than budgeted in 2016 and 2017.
“CRD staff are currently reviewing and improving the financial management systems with all CRD fire departments to ensure that the budgets accurately reflect the true costs of operating a fire department and that expenses stay within revenues,” Manager of Communications, Emily Epp said.
“The 2019-2023 five-year financial plan for all services, including the Barlow Creek Fire Protection service, is being prepared. The provisional five-year financial plan will be approved by the board and made available for public consultation at the Dec. 7 Board meeting.”
There are 836 properties within the Barlow Creek Fire Protection Service.
A resolution was passed at an in-camera Board meeting on July 13, 2018, to rescind Cody Dillabough’s appointment as Fire Chief of the Barlow Creek Volunteer Fire Department.