Greater Napanee council selects KPMG to conduct independent review of surplus tax sales

Selby Community Hall. Photo by Adam Prudhomme.

Greater Napanee council has tapped the audit services of KPMG to conduct a review of the town’s surplus property sales over the past seven to 10 years.

The resolution, which was carried unanimously at the Oct. 27 council meeting held in Selby, was a follow up to a motion put forward at the July 21 meeting. Put forward by councillor Dave Pinnell Jr and deputy mayor Max Kaiser, the notion to hire an outside firm to conduct a review was in response to questions by residents, made mostly on social media, following the sale of a surplus property by the town to a former mayor.

“Following council’s resolution an RFP (request for proposal) was drafted based on the information that council had provided as far as what they felt were the important points of the RFP,” Greater Napanee CAO Ray Callery told council. “Working with Mr. (Charles) McDonald (Greater Napanee’s director of operational audits infrastructure services), he put together the RFP for circulation and we received back three different bids.”

KPMG’s bid on the town’s RFP came in at $30,560 with an estimate to have the work completed by the end of 2020. According to Callery, KPMG bid was both the lowest and fastest projected completion time frame. By comparison the unsuccessful bids came in at $64,500 and $78,900. KPMG offered to review the sale of 10 properties over the last decade and would then highlight any it felt deserved to be more closely examined in the second phase of the work. The final report, which will be presented in open council, will include any advice for best practices to adopt with future tax sales.

“I was expecting the worst and I thought those numbers were going to be a lot higher than they are,” councillor Terry Richardson said of the cost. “KPMG I believe, with what little research I was able to do on the Internet, is a very reputable company that reaches not just Ontario but everywhere…I think they will be able to fill what we’re looking for in the resolution and let’s face it, I like the price. I’m not going to lie, I think it’s very reasonable to be quite honest for the amount of information that they’re going to have to look at.”

Pinnell Jr. says the price was a bit higher than he liked, but still supported the motion.

“I’m going to go the other way and say I thought it was a little pricey but when you look at the other two bids as well, I guess that’s what it is,” said Pinnell Jr. “I agree that KPMG is a reputable company, I’ve had dealings with them before.”

“There was a lot of talk about (previous tax sales) in the community, we made a resolution and we need to stick with it and go forward with it even though the price is over $30,000,” Pinnell Jr. added. “To pull out now or change our mind just because of the price would not reflect very well.”

Richardson made sure to note three properties sales that have been heavily scrutinized by the public-32 Oke Road, Heritage Park and the former library located at 37 Dundas St. W-would be included in the 10 that are reviewed.

“They will come forth with a recommendation,” said mayor Marg Isbester. “They will break down what has been done, some of it might be wrong some of it might be right but it will all be out there in plain English.”

-Unrelated to the audit, council voted to receive for information the town’s community and corporate services staff report regarding the sale of 37 Dundas St. W. Sold through Rogers & Trainor Commercial Real Estate, the building and land was purchased for $411,000 to Patel Gandhalikar Holding Inc. of Brampton. A total of nine offers were received, with the highest being $411,000. In June of this year the property was listed at $229,000.

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