Town of Ponoka council approved a forensic financial review of the town’s electrical department considering there’s been a downward trend in earnings in recent years. Black Press file photo

Ponoka approves forensic review of its electrical department

Consultant fees estimated at $30,000 or more for the full audit

By Emily Jaycox

Ponoka News Contributor

The Town of Ponoka will hire a forensic financial consultant to review the operation of the town’s electrical department, which has seen a downward turn in recent years.

The decision came during council’s regular meeting May 8.

The town’s Utilities and Environmental Committee recommended to council that administration hire a consultant to determine what a reasonable rate of return on assets should be.

In the preamble to council the committee stated that, “…given that the operating surplus has trended downward in recent years, with the goal of ensuring efficient operations and long-term viability.”

Mayor Rick Bonnett says the key issue the review would investigate is why the return on investment isn’t higher.

Bonnett says the town needs an energy industry expert to answer that question, and called the energy industry, “bat-s—- crazy.”

The proposed budget for the consultation was set at $30,000.

Bonnett questioned if $30,000 was an appropriate amount.

“Are we going to get our bang for our buck?” he asked.

CAO Albert Flootman responded that any amount under $100,000 is within administration’s purview, and if council wanted an exact quote to be obtained first, it would then come before council again at a later meeting.

Once a proposal is approved, the cost is expected to come out of the town’s electrical reserve, which sits at approximately $.15 million.

The motion was carried unanimously.

The town will now be requesting proposals from consulting firms.

The request for proposals would include financial analysis, cost benchmarking and a feasibility analysis.

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