Lethbridge City Council members met May 1 as Finance Committee and were briefed on the Alberta Municipal Benchmarking Initiative reports on Wastewater and Solid Waste services, the third and fourth of 10 core service area reports expected to be issued from extensive data gathered under the initiative.
The information sets the stage for each municipality to identify trends, establish priorities, and make positive changes in the delivery of water services to their residents.
The Wastewater Report indicates that Lethbridge had the lowest residential wastewater bills - $25.19 per 19 cubic metres of treated wastewater – and the lowest cost for its total wastewater system among the seven municipalities that participated in this area of study. In addition, the Solid Waste Report indicated that Lethbridge had the second-lowest cost per tonne collected for its total solid waste system.
"The ability to share and compare operational practices and performance among our communities can only lead to improved decision making, more efficient service and a higher quality of life for our residents," said Mayor Chris Spearman.
The benchmarking program is supported by the provincial Ministry of Municipal Affairs' Regional Collaboration Program. In addition to Lethbridge, participating municipalities are Airdrie, Banff, Beaumont, Canmore, Cochrane, Red Deer, Medicine Hat, Okotoks and Wetaskiwin.
"This report is a measurement tool that can raise the standard for delivery of municipal services in Alberta. It will be a catalyst for municipalities to develop and refine best practices that can be used province wide," said Lethbridge City Treasurer Corey Wight, the City's representative on the initiative's governance committee.
Although each community in Alberta is unique and faces local factors that impact service delivery such as population growth, commercial/residential mix and geography, benchmarking in general helps elected officials, administration and residents understand how their municipality is performing over time.
The next steps are for each participating municipality to review results with managers and employees who are experts in the measurement areas. Previous benchmarking reports released to date have examined drinking water and fire services. Other service areas examined include roads, transit, snow and ice management, and parks provision.
The full Wastewater Report and the full Solid Waste Report as well as the accompanying City Council presentation and previous reports are available at: www.lethbridge.ca/benchmarking.
Joel Sanchez, Asset Manager
City of Lethbridge