Finding operational efficiencies and maximizing cost-savings were key themes of many of the resolutions passed by City Council today.
City Council voted on a number of resolutions stemming from the recommendations made in the phase one report of the City-wide operational review as conducted by KPMG.
As is the regular practice of City Council process, Deputy Mayor, Belinda Crowson, brought forward the resolutions on behalf of all of City Council for debate.
"Today, we as City Council voted to move forward with being accountable for spending and making the best financial decisions we can for our residents," said Crowson. "We have made these decisions based on hard data and analytics and look forward to the next phase of reviews providing further opportunities for consideration."
One recommendation found in the KPMG report outlined that the City transition out of school bus operations, which City Council voted in favour of today. Mayor, Chris Spearman says while this decision may bring some angst with it, the decision makes the best financial sense for the City and its tax payers.
"We've known for some time that we were one of the only municipalities to operate school buses on behalf of the school districts," said Spearman. "We now know we were the only municipality doing this in North America, based on the findings of the report. This kind of information enables us to make better decisions when it comes to spending, while thoughtfully considering the level of service we deliver to our residents."
Another opportunity for streamlining City operations is the operating model of the ENMAX Centre. City Council today voted to direct Administration to explore ownership and operational alternatives for the facility and report back to City Council by June of next year.
Of the 11 Official Business Resolutions brought forward by City Council today relating to the operation review, all 11 were approved unanimously with City Council requesting Administration come back with more information and in some instances recommendations on or before June 1, 2020. The cost-savings of carrying out all of the phase one report recommendations is estimated at between $8.5 and $10 million dollars.
Expected completion of the entire operational review is three years with phase two of the review beginning in the new year.
- During Operating Budget deliberations in November 2018, City Council voted to direct Administration to conduct an operational review of all business areas in order to find cost-savings and efficiencies.
- In January this year, City Manager, Bram Strain gave an update to City Council which outlined the operational review process including the bidding process to hire a consultant to carry out the work.
- The consultant procurement process began in January with KPMG being awarded the contract in April.
- KPMG started work on reviewing the first eight business units, which were Real Estate and Land Development, Integrated Risk Management, Information Technology Services, Human Resources, Recreation and Culture, Lethbridge Transit, ENMAX Centre and Facility Services.
- KPMG submitted their final phase one report to Administration in October.
- City Council was presented the final phase one report in early November with it being released publicly on November 18 at Community Issues Committee.
- Phase two of the operational reviews begins in December 2019 with a comprehensive review of nine additional departments, primarily in Infrastructure Services.
- For anyone interested in reading the full resolutions or watching the Council meeting, it will be available on Thursday, Nov. 28 on the City's website under City Government/Council Meetings.
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City of Lethbridge