Public works data tends to be incomplete and disorganized, says Véronique Boily
In her annual audit report on the City of Laval’s administration and finances for the year 2021, auditor-general Véronique Boily gives the Boyer administration a failing grade on the way it maintains Laval’s streets and roadways, saying the money being spent isn’t guaranteeing that the work will be done properly.
Road repairs neglected
“The procedures currently being followed by the city do not give any assurance that the investments agreed upon to maintain or improve the street beds in its roads network will provide the best results,” said Boily.
“While the city proceeds with the evaluation of its roads network at a pace that is in keeping with accepted practices, the data on the roads tend to be incomplete and are disorganized,” she added.
Boily tabled her 2021 report at the June 8 meeting of Laval city council. As she has done for several years, she provided an independent analysis of the administration’s performance, on the reliability of its finances, and on the state of the municipality’s conformity to rules and regulations.
Shortfall being ignored
Regarding the city’s maintenance of its streets, Boily said Laval hasn’t yet set a specific goal for the level of service for street and road maintenance it wishes to provide, while the city is ignoring the extent of the shortfall.
“And, since the maintenance strategy for the current assets is essentially palliative and the invested sums are insufficient to maintain the network in its current state, the state of the infrastructures is at risk of continuing to deteriorate, while their maintenance will become more costly,” added Boily.
Regarding the awarding of contracts for work done by the city’s public works service, Boily said the process could do with improvement. “The roles and responsibilities are not clearly established, which discredits the imputability of the principal interveners involved in the process,” she said. She made 13 recommendations to the city’s public works service, as well as the supplies service.
Commenting on the auditor-general’s latest report, Action Laval city councillors David De Cotis (Saint-Bruno) and Achille Cifelli (Val-des-Arbres) said it confirmed what many Laval residents had long suspected: The city’s streets are in bad shape, while the city doesn’t seem to have any real plan to bring them up to grade.
Throwing money at problem
“We are very happy to see that this wasn’t just an impression, but a fact,” De Cotis said. “The Boyer administration hasn’t got the know-how to be positioned to make the right decisions. For the team in power, the solution is simple: When they have a problem, they throw money at it.”
‘The state of the infrastructures is at risk of continuing to deteriorate, while their maintenance will become more costly’
Said Cifelli, “They’re managing as if by the week. There is no planning, no strategy, not even information to be able to make informed decisions. The Boyer team doesn’t know how to implement good management tools.”
Action Laval pointed out that year over year, the city’s auditor-general has been issuing reports which are highly critical of the administration’s management, prompting Laval’s number two opposition party to propose two years ago that a rectification plan be put into place by the Boyer team.
Opposition ‘not surprised’
Over the past year, Action Laval has, in fact, made several attempts to obtain specific data used by the city in managing its various dossiers, especially regarding the city’s 3-1-1 service.
“The conclusion of the auditor-general is not surprising – they have no data,” says a statement issued by Action Laval last week, adding that other than furnishing an account of the total number of calls made to 3-1-1, the administration was unable to furnish any other management information regarding the phone service.