A special meeting of council was held Monday September 30th to review CAO13-022 an interim report on service levels.
As it isn’t one of the meetings streamed by the town there is no video record of the meeting to review the council discussions that took place.
So much for transparency.
The report itself is online, attached to the agenda for the meeting here:
A couple interesting items jumped forward when reading it, including the statement:
Overall, there have not been any significant concerns identified regarding the services provided by the Town.
Later in the report this is echoed: The Town is seen by some as not really having any major issues. The citizens are felt to be generally happy with the services the Town provides.
"Overall" and "seen by some" seem to be convenient ways to glaze over some rather glaring holes in the town’s operations that are apparent in the numbers brought forth in the report.
The whole aspect of how the town executes communications I will deal with in a separate post.
On page 6 Enforcement of bylaws, a mandatory service which includes property standards, trees, parking, clean yards and support for other divisions is accomplished by the equivalent of 4.27 full time staff.
The cost of bylaw enforcement is $856,408, yet the revenue returned is only $191,000.
A factor of 4 seems like a significantly high cost of doing business.
It is also claimed that bylaw enforcement responds to unsafe situation or trees being cut immediately.
Did the town respond "immediately" when all the trees were cleared off the property at the South West end of town this summer?
I don’t think so.
On page 21 services in the area of Heritage Planning Management are shown to include built heritage resources,review of development applications and heritage conservation, as well as programming of community events.
It even specifically reads that the town’s Heritage Planning department programs approximately 4 events per year
There is only one annual event that the Heritage Planning department is involved with in conjunction with the Heritage Advisory committee and that is Doors Open.
At a cost of $110,200 and a revenue of $0 where is the breakdown on how this is allocated?
Where is a comparable?
How are we measuring operational efficiency?
The report brings forward more questions than answers, and that is a good thing.
I’m glad that Mayor Dawe brought forward this level of review so that it can be brought into budget discussions.
A final report that can dynamically cross reference the budget sheets seems to be the only missing piece, both for council and the community as a whole but I suspect that would exceed the town’s current service level.