Review finds transparency issues with Greater Napanee's property sales 

Greater Napanee Town Hall. (Parks Canada)

An independent review has found a lack of transparency in Greater Napanee's municipal property sales over the past decade and recommended further safeguards to protect taxpayers money. 

Accounting firm KPMG was hired to do a third-party review of sales involving municipal property, a review that came to fruition after concerns were raised over the sale of municipal land on Oke Road to former Mayor Gordon Schermerhorn for less than 20 per cent of its value. 

KPMG reviewed 10 property sales from the past decade for it's report, which was presented to Town Council at its Jan. 26 meeting, noting a lack of transparency in of the sales and no paper trail for at least two of the property sales. 

Of the ten properties, the current value assessment was only used for two sales and an appraisal was only sought for three. It also found there was no documented rationale for why some properties were deemed surplus by the town in the first place. 

The 50-page report also found arbitrary times were sometimes used to advertise the sales, including one newspaper ad posted just one day before a sale was about to close. 

While it found the current by-laws regarding land sale was on par with other nearby municipalities, in many cases, the by-law was not followed. 

12 recommendations were presented to Council by KPMG to further strengthen the transparency and process surrounding land sales to avoid the noted "internal control breakdowns."