Dysart’s service delivery review found $700,000 the municipality could make by tackling issues such as short-term rentals, a new strategic plan and recreational facilities.
The Toronto-based consulting firm, StrategyCorp, presented to council Sept. 25, outlining seven major policy areas the municipality could improve on. The review, paid for by a $75,000 provincial grant, also makes comparisons and recommendations for how the municipality could improve on strategic customer service, landfills, sewage treatment and digitizing the roads department.
Mayor Andrea Roberts said it was a big undertaking.
“It’s no longer good enough in the municipal world – and in other businesses really – to say this is how we’re always done it, so this is the way we’ll continue to do it,” Roberts said. “There’s something proactive and great about not being afraid to look inward.”
StrategyCorp’s recommendations are wide-ranging. The company found more than 50 potential improvements, though only flagged seven as high priority, which they focused on at the meeting.
StrategyCorp principal John Matheson said the $700,000 is a conservative estimate and the figure could be much greater. He added the report was not to criticize.
“No sense we’re saying, ‘Oh, it’s shocking this hasn’t been done already,’” Matheson said. “In a lot of cases, the maturation of the opportunities has only happened in fairly recent times … Really valuable things you can do to take the organization to the next level.”
The firm recommended Dysart create a new strategic plan. Manager Chris Salloum said Dysart lacks a true “north star” document which would help improve co-operation and efficiency.
The review comes at the same time StrategyCorp is also working on a shared services delivery review across the County. Deputy Mayor Patrick Kennedy said the two reports should work in conjunction.
“With the County also doing the shared services, we’d just incorporate those things (in that report) that will help us become even better,” Kennedy said. “A blend of both reports will end up serving the community a lot better.”
Other key recommendations from Dysart’s review included:
• Creating service level standards for customer service across the organization.
• Increased enforcement of proper waste disposal, including increased bag overage fees.
• Centralizing construction and demolition at one landfill.
• Providing a unified vision for a new joint-recreation facility and canvas to find potential partners.
• Implementing long-term planning for Dysart’s sewage treatment plant.
• Digitizing more of the roads department operations.
As for short-term rentals, StrategyCorp reviewed what other municipalities are doing and recommended Dysart either implement a licencing system, an accommodations tax, or both.
Roberts said with every municipality in the County examining the issue, it would be good to make the systems as similar as possible.
“A lot of places have figured it out,” Roberts said. “It’s time for us to figure out what works for us.”
Council voted to receive the report as information. Matheson said he expects municipal staff to bring forward separate reports addressing each of the key priorities.
“This is a menu of ideas for you to use over time,” he said. “It will be up to you what makes the most sense.”