Moncton keeps reports into overspending secret

The City of Moncton is keeping secret a series of reports conducted by an auditor that investigated questionable spending.

Auditor has produced 3 reports investigating overspending on city projects

Jacques Dubé, Moncton's city manager, said the first of three reports produced by a special accountant will not be made public for at least two more months. (CBC)

The City of Moncton is keeping secret a series of reports conducted by an accountant that investigated questionable spending.

Moncton city councillors hired their own accountant, Bernard Leblanc, in 2010 to try to figure out what went wrong with various infrastructure projects that were over budget.

Jacques Dubé, the city manager, said the auditor has prepared three reports for the city along with recommendations.

The city manager said the reports have been made available to city staff, councillors and Moncton’s external auditor, Grant Thornton.

But the reports have not been made available to taxpayers.

Dubé said that will only happen once they've been officially presented at a city council meeting.

"I don't think there's a hold up, it's just due process, ultimately it's a question of timing and getting it on council's agenda," he said.

The stadium at the University of Moncton, for example, cost the city almost $4 million more than expected, while the new Kiwanis baseball field went $400,000 over budget.

There was also the saga of the 385 parking spots the city agreed to give to a downtown developer for free for up to 50 years without council's knowledge.

At least one of the accountant's reports is more than a year old but the findings have never been made public.

Dubé said one report that deals with overspending at the Moncton stadium should come before council within the next two months.

Dubé would not say whether any wrongdoing was uncovered.

The city’s track record of missing its budget targets on major infrastructure projects has caused at least one councillor to raise concerns about the projected budget for a proposed downtown sports and entertainment complex.

The city is looking at building a $105-million events centre but Coun. Daniel Bourgeois has said he fears the actual cost could be upwards of $165 million.