Town needs project management controls, project overruns

To the Expositor:

Central Manitoulin’s budget is out, and the councillors are quite pleased that the mill rate will only increase by 3 percent over last year’s rate. This mill rate increase was favourably compared to the cost of living increase of 2.5 percent for the 12 months ending January 2012. Unfortunately, less was mentioned about council’s approval of a 5 percent increase in the water and sewer rates.

Also, the Muncipal Property Assessment Corpoation (MPAC) reports that the average increase in the residential property assessments was 4.97 percent/year. Your tax bill is calculated by multiplying your assessed property value by the mill rate. When both the mill rate and the assessed values are increased simultaneously, the total dollars we taxpayers pay jumps considerably more; far more than the cost of living. The combined effect, on average, is a 8.12 percent increase for the average residential property owner in Central Manitoulin for 2012. Do we now understand why the councillors are happy, yet our wallets are sad?

The municipality has done some significant upgrades in our municipal infrastructure (eg. fire truck, bridges, paving, road construction, etc.), all well and good. However, we frequently get dinged with huge cost overruns on those capital projects. When will we have adequate project management controls to ensure taxpayers don’t get left holding the bag for everybody else’s error?

Secondly, more than 40 percent of our taxes go to office and administration. An even higher percentage is just for salaries and benefits of all municipal employees. What is being done to simplify their work methods, or help all municipal employees to work together as effectively and efficiently as possible?

There are 250 working days in a year. If we get the municipal employees to improve their jobs by just 0.1 percent per day, we would receive a 28 percent overall improvement by the end of the year (1.001250 x 100 percent= 28.4 percent improvement). That means we ask all employees find a way to save themselves 30 seconds (or the equivalent $) every day they work. I assume every employee is up to that challenge, if they receive the leadership and management support to start on that journey of continuous improvement.

Rather than mindlessly chopping wood forever, we must stop to re-assess our progress, find better ways (eg. a chainsaw), or at least sharpen the axe.

Glenn Black

Providence Bay