Also at last night’s council meeting James Crosty requested an audit of the 150 celebration finances. James inquired as to how an initial budget of approx. $386,000 could balloon to over $1 Million. Neither council nor staff seemed prepared to offer any suggestions on how this happened.
We certainly know how to throw a party, don’t we?
Mr. Crosty has now provided us with a copy of the comments he made before council. See below.
James Crosty has provided us with the delegation that he presented before council on Monday. Included in his comments is a handy history of the issue.
Here is a copy of the delegation by James Crosty to city council:
December 13, 2010
Good evening Mayor, council members of city staff and residents of New Westminster
I am here to ask Mayor and council how a budget that was approved for $174,162.44 after grant reductions ballooned to over $1,013,000.00 when you include in kind expenses for the 150th Birthday Celebrations in New Westminster. How can the city justify a 500% increase over the initial budget submitted and approved by council on January 19th 2009?
Further I would ask that council request an full internal accounting audit on the final cost of the 150 Celebrations including a breakdown of in kind expensed items, who provided the in kind items, details on city staff time and wages incurred for the 150 Celebrations, income generated from events and number of tickets sold and number of people that attended these events, clothing income and expense details and finally an explanation from the committee as to why this celebration went over budget.
I ask for this review not to criticize the organizers’ of the 150 Celebrations because I know they worked hard and I even attended some of the events it was an exciting time. I ask for this information to ensure that this kind of over spending will never occur again. You may remember 2009 was a tough year for many of our not for profit organizations with Provincial cutbacks and city funding. Yet here is our own city having expensed $838,000 more than the budget allowed when many not for profit groups had to cut back or go without. If I am correct in my calculations then the issue here is fiscal mismanagement of tax dollars. I believe it is incumbent upon our Mayor and Council to request a review of the 150 Celebration expenses in order for the people of New Westminster to fully understand these costs.
150 Celebration Review (background):
January 19th, 2009 (minutes of council) – Budget presented and Option B was approved for $374,162.44
it was noted in the minutes that “direction was given for staff to endeavor to reduce the budget by actively pursuing partnerships, donation and sponsorships. The director agreed to report back with greater budget detail as event planning progresses”.
It is noted in the budget that application had been made for a $200,000 grant from Ministry of Canadian Heritage – Building Communities through Arts & Heritage. This was not included in the budget at the time as it was an application only. As noted in the direction to staff this would reduce the city’s cost for 150 Celebrations to $174,162.44
A grant for $20,000 from BC 150th Heritage Legacy Fund was included then reduced in the budget. Further an in kind contribution of $10,000 was included in the budget towards venue rental. This should have been accounted for as in kind and not formed part of the budget cost.
I have been unable to locate any further information regarding any update.
March 23rd, 2009 (minutes of council) – Budget increased by $14,980 plus GST to allow for a publication of 500 books of poetry by Don Benson. I note that this motion was not approved by everyone with Councilor McIntosh opposed.
Total budget now $389,142.44 (Less $200,000 for the Heritage Grant).
Noted in these minutes was a reference that the 150th Celebration Operating Budget was deleted from Parks and Recreation budget and would be funded from Reserves.
April 20th, 2009 (minutes of council) – A motion to provide the two poet laureates honorariums of $500.ea was approved by council in reference to the commemorative book for a total of $1,000.
Final Budget would be $390,142.44 (less $200,000 from the grant application).
According to the staff report (DOC#149682) December 13th.
Budget as indicated is $386,000.00
Grant BC Heritage Foundation $20,000 included and expensed in the budget
Grant for $200,000.00 was received from Heritage Canada (not used to offset expenses)
Total cash expenses for 150 Celebrations $ 586,000.00
Total in kind expenses for 150 Celebration $ 427,000.00
In Kind offering are usually obtained to offset expenses.
Total expense for 150 Celebrations $1,013,000.00
By the minutes of council the expenses of the 150 Celebration as approved should have been $390,142.44 less $200,000.00 or $190,142.44 **
**should be less $10,000 from Massey in kind as well as ticket & clothing sales which are unknown
Since there is no account for income or Massey savings it can be estimated the expenses would be even larger than the reported cost of $1,013,000.00.
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