Nova Scotia

Forensic audit ordered for Bridgetown

The Nova Scotia government says a confusing trail of tax and water bills in Bridgetown shows that a forensic audit is needed.

The Nova Scotia government says a confusing trail of tax and water bills in Bridgetown shows that a forensic audit is needed.

Municipal Relations Minister John MacDonell ordered the audit on Friday, three days after the entire town council resigned  over the town's ongoing money problems.

Department staff have spent the last few days reviewing the town's financial records.

"Some residents have come forward with proof that their tax bill or water bill is paid, yet the books show them as unpaid. Based on information like this, it has become clear that a forensic audit is necessary," MacDonell said in a statement.

The Annapolis Valley town has a population of about 970. It has lost residents and businesses and has been struggling for years.

On Tuesday, the mayor and five councillors said they were stepping down because of the "magnitude and complexity" of the money problems and the lack of financial and human resources to manage them.

RCMP confirm they are investigating a theft complaint but have not released any details.

MacDonell will appoint a three-person panel to take over council duties. That panel will then hire an accounting firm to conduct the audit, which is expected to take three months.

The province will cover the $125,000 bill for the forensic audit.

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