The city is taking up an offer of assistance from the province to find fiscal efficiencies.
The Ford government is developing a $7.35 million “audit and accountability fund,” to provide money for third party audits for municipalities and school boards.
Premier Doug Ford revealed the plan during a speaking appearance for the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce last month.
He challenged municipalities and school boards to find four per cent savings across the board, claiming his government had done so in its first budget.
During a recent council meeting, Mayor Dan Carter said many in the municipal sector are unsure of the province’s expectations.
However, Carter noted when the province offers the city money, they should take advantage of it.
To Ward 5 city councillor John Gray, there is “no downside” from Oshawa’s perspective.
“Let’s find out if our operation is as effective as we believe it is, and if not, we’ll have some housecleaning to do,” he said.
Despite voting in support, Ward 5 regional councillor Brian Nicholson said the province is “playing politics.”
He said the government is throwing the city “a few crumbs,” while “they’ve got their hands in all our other pockets stealing the rest of our money.”
The only councillor voting in opposition was Ward 4’s Derek Giberson.
“I look at this and wonder if we sign on this as an expression of interest, is there a penalty if we don’t achieve four per cent [savings],” he said. “To be perfectly frank, I don’t see the merit in us applying for this fund.”
Commissioner of finance Stephanie Sinnott said it is unclear if the city faces ramifications in failing to achieve the province’s savings goals, or what the scope of the audit would be.
The city must complete its application by June 30.