Community

Audits will help save taxpayer dollars: Region

York Region took advantage of provincial funding provided to find better and more efficient ways to operate and save taxpayer dollars.

It received $654,000 from the Audit and Accountability Fund for large urban municipalities to hire independent third-party consultants to review municipal services delivery expenditures to identify efficiencies.

“The (Fund) provides a timely opportunity to consider program and service delivery improvements that (are) respectful of taxpayers,” says Steve Pellegrini, chair of York Region’s Finance and Administration. “Planning for our growing communities means ensuring services evolve to meet the modern needs of our residents while also supporting the economic strength and social viability of our communities.”

The region says third-party reviews of Court Services Modernization Opportunities, Development Application Tracking Tool (YorkTrax) Modernization Opportunities, and the Organizational Efficiencies and Performance Accountability Review identified organizational changes, modernized solutions, shared service delivery and cost savings. It will consider recommendations as part of its budget process.

The Ontario government announced the $7.35-million Audit and Accountability Fund in May 2019. In March 2021, it added almost $10 million to the fund as part if its three-year, $18-million commitment to support initiatives that focus on increasing digital services, modernization, streamlining and service integration.

“Regional council is committed to building strong, caring, safe communities through the efficient and modern delivery of critical programs and services,” York Region CEO Wayne Emmerson says. “York Region’s strong culture of continuous improvement helps ensure the delivery of these high-quality programs and services meet the increasing and evolving needs of our more than 1.2 million residents.”

As part of the funding agreement, York is required to submit a final report to the province outlining their third-party review analysis, findings and actional recommendations. Also, as part of the agreement, the region must publicly post the report. Findings from the audit and accountability reviews can be found at york.ca/Accountability.

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