Municipal services

Consultant offers efficiency options for municipal services

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While calling Chatham-Kent a relatively light organization, one consultant believes that there are still ways for the municipality to improve the efficiency of its basic services.

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However, it would be up to the advisers to determine the next steps, as well as whether or not there is political will to move forward with some of the ideas.

KPMG delivered its final report at Monday’s meeting. The company had been hired by the municipality to conduct a service delivery review and efficiency comparison with similar municipalities, albeit at a higher level rather than an in-depth analysis.

Company partner Katie DenBok said the report came after extensive consultations and stakeholder interviews with elected officials, senior executives, frontline management focus groups and community members.

She noted that the municipality is overall lean and efficient, so any changes would require further investigation, as well as additional contributions.

“We are aware that any type of service change can be of a sensitive nature,” DenBok said. “We really understand, especially given the history of the municipality and its very diverse residents, that it can be difficult to implement change without resistance from some sectors of the community. “

Suk Bedi, senior director at KPMG, said there were several themes of opportunity, including advancing the Chatham-Kent asset management program, reallocating or consolidating facilities, and implementing a “citizen-centered” service approach.

With 341 municipal buildings, he said the municipality could consider use and determine what is sustainable while balancing online with in-person services.

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Some at the virtual table said that the needs of the aging population must be taken into account. South Kent County. Clare Latimer said residents will always need to be able to speak with city staff face to face or by phone.

East Kent County. Steve Pinsonneault said many rural residents “believe they are getting a rough deal,” noting that Chatham-Kent’s best course of action is to continue to promote growth.

Council accepted Monday’s report for information.

Don Shropshire, Chatham-Kent’s top administrator, said staff were ready to look into the issues, but added that it will be up to advisers how to proceed regarding the various options.

“We need direction from the board in terms of what there is a political appetite for,” he said. “While many of these can lead to efficiency gains and cost savings, sometimes there is a consequence in terms of service delivery or an impact on our community.

“I don’t think any of them are mutually exclusive. I think they could all be considered in time, but I think the board needs to figure out what’s the right balance? “