Consultant finds Mono’s population outpaces service delivery

February 2, 2023   ·   0 Comments


Mono has had significant population growth over the last decade.

As such, certain operational changes should be implemented to keep up with service delivery needs, according to a report by Optimus SBR, a Toronto-based business management consultant.

The firm delivered a service delivery review during Mono town council’s regular meeting on Jan. 25. The review looked at town operations across the municipality with an eye toward opportunities for overall improvements, efficiency, and possibilities for improvement in services.

The consultant described in the report how the town has undergone “significant” population growth in the last decade. The town has increased by about 24 per cent in population and about 30 per cent in households.

Like every other municipality that has responded to the challenges presented by COVID-19, the need to shift services to online delivery became apparent during the pandemic shutdown.

The town had a limited ability for in-person service delivery and resident engagement. That’s because of staffing challenges associated with facility capacities and adequate digital and self-serve options for the higher number of residents.

In many cases, the need to revise processes because of public health measures has accelerated the switch to digital service delivery and paperless processes, which may have been planned prior to COVID-19.

Deputy Mayor Fred Nix took issue with the consultant’s assertion that staffing and service levels need to be assessed because of the population growth and its increase in demand for services.

“You’ve only done half the analysis,” Nix said. “The public’s going to read this report and they’re going to say, ‘Oh the number of dwellings is increased by 30 per cent, the population is up by 24 per cent.’ My God, we’ve got to hire more staff.”

The truth is, Nix said, the town’s services have increased along with the population over the last 10 years.

“I don’t know by what percentage,” he said. “But you haven’t analyzed that.”

The town has increased policing with the OPP, and the number of bylaw enforcement officers has doubled, he said.

“And we’ve certainly way more than doubled the number of hours they work,” Nix said.

The consultant’s report indicates that leadership across the town consistently raised the need for proactive succession planning.

Within the next seven years, the majority of municipal leadership will be of new faces in offices. Mono should begin succession planning activities and start documenting key processes, activities, and job descriptions, so potential successors are able to effectively take on roles.

Some areas appear to have sufficient staff. But there is significant need in the Department of Public Works and in various administrative positions.

Councillor Elaine Capes said the service delivery review is one of the best initiatives council has undertaken.

“The level of detail in here, I very much appreciate,” she said.

And, contrary to the deputy mayor’s objections, Capes said Optimus SBR was the best outfit to tap for the report. And that’s shown in the level of detail in the work, recommendations, and implementation planning.

“I, for one, am very grateful for this,” she said.

Adding, “I do support that people are our most important asset and that we need to make sure the workplace, the work load, and everything else is an environment in which people want to work and stay.”

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