The city auditor has released a scathing review of the City’s Winter Street Recycling and Mixing Program. The program has been subject to poor management that’s cost you money, and the city it’s reputation.
Edmonton used to brag about how that sand that’s used on city streets in the winter is recycled. The program’s been running for 12 years, and on average dumps 152,000 tonnes on our roads, and recycles 106,000 of that at a cost of around $7 million a year. But now they’ve got less to brag about.
An audit has found the program was supposed to save $2.5 million a year. Not only did it not save that, it lost money. Problem is, city manager Linda Cochrane can’t even get a handle on what it cost you, because of the non-existent paper trail.
“That’s true we don’t know how much. I think for as much as it might have cost us more, we might have saved even more. That’s the sad part about this,” she told reporters. “Because the paper trail was so very loose, we can’t give you with any certainty the savings the lack of savings on this and that’s very embarrassing.”
“Overall, we found that the City is not receiving the best value from the contracts with the Centre of Excellence for services relating to the Winter Street Sand Recycling and Mixing Program,” the audit said.
“I’m furious,” said Mayor Don Iveson. “Results were reported in 2012 to the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee of council that simply can not be validated because the evidence behind them doesn’t exist.”
“The primary accountability system didn’t work here, which is that management responsible was reporting things to council that were frankly not true. That’s infuriating, absolutely infuriating. If those people still worked here they would stop working here right away but unfortunately they’re already gone. Or fortunately I suppose in one sense.”
The audit found other problems. One example is the storage area at Horse Hills in the north. Since there’s a lack of a municipal sanitary drainage system to discharge pond water, the North Saskatchewan River is at risk of E.coli contamination. Cochrane said that’s been looked into an so far now problems have been reported. Any time contamination levels were found to be higher than normal they were treated with chlorine she said.
Excess use of trucks heading to Horse Hills as well have left 50th street badly damaged.
One conclusion from the audit is that management has to do a better oversight job “even though the City received a quality product, the City overpaid for this product,” it said.
Council’s audit committee will review the program at its meeting next Thursday.
You can read the audit here and clicking on 6.4