Municipal service review
Council for the Northeast Town engaged RSM Canada LLP to undertake a municipal service review of all its current service offerings as part of the province’s broader initiative on service modernization for small and rural communities.
During the December 1 meeting of council, representatives of RSM Canada LLP walked council through their findings. They noted that on the whole, town services are operating efficiently and effectively, but did have 42 recommendations for the municipality.
Some of the ‘quick wins’ noted by RSM among the recommendations included: Developing continuous formal training and annual performance evaluation for staff across services; review insurance brokerage costs by considering increase in deductibles for low value claims; and undertake regular, targeted analysis of tourism data from information centre visits and other attractions for more specific marketing.
RSM undertook 61 public surveys, 14 internal stakeholder interviews and several staff interviews to glean its information.
Councillor Bill Koehler questioned the recommendation of another ice pad for the Northeast Town recreation centre and queried RSM as to where that information would have come from. It was explained to the councillor that this information would have come from feedback from the public survey.
Staff and council will review the recommendations in the meetings to come.
The cost for the work provided by RSM Canada LLP was $54,350.
Public budget meeting
Council held a public budget meeting on December 1 via Zoom with numerous community members virtually attending.
Northeast Town treasurer Sheryl Wilkin walked the public through the budget and explained the 3.42 percent increase to the municipal levy (or $165,188.02) that would be needed for 2021.
There was only one question from the public, from Tony Ferro of Bay Estates, who questioned the $170,000 overrun on the Green Bush Road project. CAO Dave Williamson explained that the municipality received funding for the project, but the lowest bid came in at $500,000. Engineers also discovered that additional dig-outs to the road were required.
“So the $170,000 will be eaten up by the taxpayers?” Mr. Ferro asked “Why wasn’t this noticed sooner?”
Mr. Williamson responded that the engineer overseeing the construction realized the road needed more help than originally thought while the project was underway.
As was reported previously, the Hardbargain Road sidewalk project which was slated in the 2021 budget has been removed, which will mean a savings of $180,000—enough to cover the cost overrun.