North Bay city council has voted down a motion aimed to have staff prepare a report of the city's finances for the year's third quarter. (Eric Taschner/CTV News)

North Bay city council has voted down a motion aimed to have staff prepare a report of the city's finances for the year's third quarter.

Coun. Mark King, who brought forward the motion, said he made it clear last month he wanted city staff to answer questions surrounding the city's financial situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At that time, the city projected an almost $2 million deficit.

By rejecting his motion, King said it shows a lack of transparency to city taxpayers.

"The ability to understand the net operation within the city is the most important thing that we can do as a council making decisions," said King.

"Transparency is part of my process so when I ask a question, I ask the question for the general public and I expect a reasonable answer back from staff."

Deputy mayor and budget chief Tanya Vrebosch, who voted against the motion, said it was "redundant" since city staff will get a similar report for September's financial situation soon.

'We're already doing that'

"Why ask for staff to write a report that is already coming out and then to review it?" said Vrebosch. "We're already doing that at a public meeting coming up."

Vrebosch said city staff are transparent when handling financial reports.

"I don't know if it's really appropriate for Coun. King to comment about staff without giving them the opportunity to defend themselves," she said.

Vrebosch said the September report will more than likely come out in October, which will be around the time council is expected to begin its budget process. King said this raises eyebrows.

"The sheer timing of this is questionable," he said. "We have a very large capital project with the arena and to bring capital projects forward before the operating budget is actually is a no, no."

Vrebosch rejected those comments, arguing council has not brought any capital projects forward before the operating budget has been passed. She said council has followed its policies and procedures for budget preparation.