Mono mayor says municipalities may save by buying together

February 16, 2023   ·   0 Comments


Mono’s mayor suggested Dufferin County municipalities could reap monetary savings by banding together for capital purchases in this inflation-riddled expensive age.

As council considered proposals for the 2023 capital budget on Feb. 14, Mayor John Creelman said every town department for every annual budget should adopt a procurement approach that involves neighbouring municipalities.

“We do too little of this, in my view,” he said. “We’re each buying our own supplies, we’re buying our own computers … when, in fact, there may be economies of scale if we’re all doing this cooperatively.”

For computers and software licencing costs, the town is facing a steep increase in the 2023 budget compared to last year’s spending blueprint.

Les Halucha, the town’s treasurer, requested $66,000 for departmental computer and software replacement. That’s up from $60,000 last year. That includes hardware replacements and software licence fees.

One such software licence is for a program called DarkTrace, which monitors internet activity and blocks potential dangers from websites. It costs $15,265 annually.

“There’s been attempts at hacking our emails and DrakTrace has caught them,” Halucha said. “It is definitely working.”

The Klondyke Pit Reserve, which is money put aside to rehabilitate the pit after it’s closed, will get $10,000.

“Then there’s proper rehab work to close down the pit completely,” Halucha said.

Currently, there is $108,000 in the pit reserve.

Mono commissioned Optimus SBR, a Toronto-based business management consultant, to undertake a service delivery review of the town. Their report was brought to council at its Jan. 25 meeting.

The review contained some recommendations in the way of technology needs to improve service delivery.

“We have not got there yet,” Halucha said of implementing the report’s suggestions. “At the staff level, we want to examine the report fully.

“It will give us the opportunity to come back to council [to outline] these are our plans. But we don’t see that happening until after the budget process.”

Some of the costs to fulfill the consultant’s recommendations won’t be required until the 2024 municipal budget is inked.

“We don’t want to rush into anything,” Halucha said.

Councillor Ralph Manktelow noted that computer expenses were $50,000 for hardware, software, and backups last year. This year, the expenses are a proposed $106,000.

“This seems to be quite a bit more, but maybe I’m probably missing something,” Manktelow said. “Can you help me out?”

“You’re not missing anything,” Halucha said. “The costs we’re proposing for 2023 is more. We’re finding that computer costs have gone up anywhere from 10 to 15 per cent, so we do have the additional amount.”

Halucha said about 50 per cent of the cost will be offset by reserve money.

“I know that our computer systems are integral to our success in many ways, so I’m not interested in picking little pieces off,” Manktelow said. “But it is a big item that’s going to be a part of our overall budget.”

Mayor John Creelman said it’s important to distinguish between software costs and funding required to cover hardware replacement.

“There must be something to indicate how many computers you’ll be purchasing over the next year … and whether or not that’s a deferrable cost if those (existing) computers are in good working condition,” Creelman said.

Halucha said any municipal asset that still operates fine is not replaced.

“But we’re finding we do need three laptop replacements now because, basically, they don’t have the memory or the capacity to continue with today’s software,” he said.

“And then we’re retrofitting the roads department for their maintenance operation with iPads.”

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