Winnipeg receives failing grade for financial reporting, think tank group says
WINNIPEG — A Canadian think-tank gave Winnipeg a failing grade for its financial reporting practices.
A recent C. D. Howe Institute report examined the annual budgets of 25 major Canadian cities. Winnipeg ranked one of the lowest on the list and was given an ‘F’. This comes after the city recently released it preliminary budget for 2017, proposing a 2.33 per cent increase in property tax.
The think-tank said reasons for the failing grade included:
- Providing little information in a reader-friendly form.
- Approving budgets so long after the fiscal year started.
- Key totals are buried deep in documents.
The group provided points on how Winnipeg can improve its fiscal accountability, such as switching to gross revenue from net totals in its budget, and putting key figures close to the front of the budget.
“A time-constrained, non-expert should not have to dig through dozens or even hundreds of pages in a document or a slide deck to find a city’s total budgeted or actual spending,” the report stated.
The City of Winnipeg disagrees with the report.
“The city follows accepted professional practices and guidelines, including generally following budgeting standards prescribed by the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA),” said David Driedger with the City of Winnipeg. “The city financial statements are prepared using accounting principles prescribed by the Public Sector Accounting Board (PSAB) which includes an unqualified audit opinion from its auditors, KPMG.”
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