Moncton is stalling its capital budget deliberations after city council ordered an internal auditor to probe $4.2 million worth of overspending this year.


Moncton councillors have ordered a financial audit after discovering $4.2 million in over-spending its capital budget. ((CBC))

Councillors say the public money was spent without their approval or knowledge.

The city's politicians acknowledge they knew spending had gone over on the University of Moncton's stadium this summer but they didn't know it surpassed its budget by $3.75 million.

And the city has discovered that the stadium is not the only capital construction project that went over budget.

Coun. Brian Hicks said he just discovered that work on the Kiwanis Park baseball field overspent its budget by $400,000.

"One of the most disappointing things ... is that, in my opinion, what was taken away from council is the ability to scale it back, which I think certainly I would have pushed for that," Hicks said.

"We have a budget. We have to live within a budget. There were probably things in that $4.2 million on both projects that perhaps we could have scaled back."


The University of Moncton's stadium caused $3.7 million in extra costs that Moncton councillors say they were unaware of and did not approve. ((CBC))

Moncton hosted the IAAF World Junior Track and Field Championships in July. The event saw more than 1,400 athletes from 163 countries competed in 44 events during the weeklong event.

The 19-and-under competition was the largest sporting event ever held in Atlantic Canada.

The university built a new $23-million stadium that was first used during the international track event.

The stadium can be expanded to hold 20,000 spectators. The facility has also landed a regular season Canadian Football League game and the 2011, 2013 and 2015 national university football semifinal game.

Moncton council is now discussing the possibility of bidding to become a host city when Canada makes a pitch to host the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup.

Budget process delayed

Moncton's city council has completed its operating budget for the upcoming year but its capital budget is on hold while an auditor looks into the overspending.

Coun. Daniel Bourgeois said on large infrastructure projects, such as the stadium, there is always a contingency amount built in for going over budget.

But he said he doesn't know how the project blew its budget by such a wide margin.

"It appears that the contingency was all spent on unforeseen things and in addition to that another $3.7 million was spent without council authorization," Bourgeois said.

Bourgeois said he can't understand why basic policies weren't followed.

Hicks said in the future he will be looking for some guarantees that council will not be left on the hook for significant cost overruns when it comes to large capital infrastructure projects.