District of Sooke Councillor Rick Kasper

District of Sooke Councillor Rick Kasper

Double-billing ‘error’ discovered in budget

Previous accounting system was problematic; corrections and changes made

Sooke taxpayers have been paying twice for storm water testing and animal control: once to the District of Sooke, and again to the Capital Regional District (CRD), for at least five years.

This double billing came up at the March 3 meeting of the Finance & Administration as a result of a committee member questioning some line items in Sooke’s five-year budget.

“The Sooke taxpayers have been double billed for the animal control and the testing of our basin,” said Councillor Rick Kasper. At the March 3 meeting, “we found out that these services were included in the requisition from the CRD because they are the ones that provide the services to us, but it was also included as a line item in the municipal portion of our budget.”

The District of Sooke’s Financial Plan 2010 to 2014, General Operating Fund, shows the 2013 amount to be $106,035 ($64,879 for animal control and $41,156 for storm water quality control). These funds have been a line item in the General Operating Fund since at least 2011, growing incrementally from $95,016 in 2009 to the current 2013 amount.

“The money that had been collected (to cover these expenditures over the years) is actually sitting in our bank account” in their operating reserve fund, explained Kasper.

“The Finance Committee is recommending that we actually reduce the tax requisition for this year to reflect that over billing,” said Kasper, who added council requested a report from Michael Dillabaugh, Sooke’s Director of Finance, for the total amount collected over the years.

“Michael (Dillabaugh) who has great credentials and his assistant Brent (Blackhall) … they don’t leave a stone unturned,” remarked Kasper, adding that council has been making changes in “the accounting systems that have been in place ever since we got elected.”

“It just shows how much of a disaster the record keeping (has been),” said Kasper, “and the how system that we had in place was totally inappropriate.”

The responsibility for the record keeping rests ultimately with the Director of Finance. The Finance Committee has requested a report from the director to see how far back this double billing goes.

The previous accounting system was “so problematic it was unreal. We got very frustrated.”

These frustrations have lead to changes, elaborated Kasper, and deferred the matter to Michael Dillabaugh. Dillabough was hired as Director of Finance in 2012.

Dillabough responded by stating the duplication had been “caught and fixed from day one of the budget process this year.” Recommendations on what to do with the surplus will be presented at the next council meeting on March 24 (7 p.m.),  where council will address it.

“It just shows that the committee process works, especially when you have a member of the public,” noted Kasper, looking on the bright side of things. “And that’s what committees are there to do. They are there to ask questions to assist in making sure the taxpayers interests are represented. That’s what democracy is all about.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Bill Almond’s observatory in its new home on a Saanich lakeside. (Submitted/Cameron Burton)
Colwood stargazing dome makes a move to Saanich

The backyard structure finds a new home after 30 years

Chris Grzywacz, development agent for cannabis supplier Seed and Stone’s, holds products from the new Songhees Cannabis S + S store on April 20. (Jake Romphf/ News Staff)
First cannabis store opens on Songhees Nation, creates economic opportunity says chief

The Songhees Cannabis S + S had a soft launch at its 1502 Admirals Road location on April 20

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

Darrel McLeod won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction in 2018 for his first book, Mamaskatch: A Cree Coming of Age. His newly-released memoir, Peyakow: Reclaiming Cree Dignity, follows as a sequel. (Black Press Media file)
Critically acclaimed Sooke author releases new memoir

Peyakow follows as a sequel to Darrel McLeod’s first book, Mamaskatch: A Cree Coming of Age

RCMP have appealed to the public for help identifying the man. (Black Press Media file image)
Police, dog unit called after man exposed himself at West Shore elementary school

West Shore RCMP credits students, aged 11 and 5, for seeking help

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

A man pauses at a coffin after carrying it during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. announces historic half-billion-dollar funding for overdose crisis, mental health

Of it, $152 million will be used to address the opioid crisis and see the creation of 195 new substance use treatment beds

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. budget to expand $10-a-day child care, but misses the mark on ‘truly universal’ system

$111 million will be used to fund 3,750 new $10-a-day spaces though 75 additional ChildCareBC universal prototype sites over the next three years.

Mak Parhar speaks at an anti-mask rally outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020. Parhar was arrested on Nov. 2 and charged with allegedly violating the Quarantine Act after returning from a Flat Earth conference held in Geenville, South Carolina on Oct. 24. (Flat Earth Focker/YouTube.com screenshot)
Judge tosses lawsuit of B.C. COVID-denier who broke quarantine after Flat Earth conference

Mak Parhar accused gov, police of trespass, malfeasance, extortion, terrorism, kidnapping and fraud

Ambulance paramedic in full protective gear works outside Lion’s Gate Hospital, March 23, 2020. Hospitals are seeing record numbers of COVID-19 patients more than a year into the pandemic. (The Canadian Press)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate declines, 849 cases Tuesday

Up to 456 people now in hospital, 148 in intensive care

Christy Clark, who was premier from 2011 to 2017, is the first of several present and past politicians to appear this month before the Cullen Commission, which is investigating the causes and impact of B.C.’s money-laundering problem over the past decade. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)
Christy Clark says she first learned of money-laundering spike in 2015

The former B.C. premier testified Tuesday she was concerned the problem was ‘apparently at an all-time high’

Most Read