Consultant suggests ways for more efficient service delivery in Chatham-Kent

The Civic Centre in Chatham. (BlackburnNews.com file photo)

A consultant agency is suggesting ways Chatham-Kent can become more efficient at delivering services and save money while doing it.

KPMG was hired to look at the municipality’s core services to see if local taxpayers are getting the most bang for their buck and what changes could be made to make sure that happens.

The firm presented its final report to council at Monday’s municipal meeting. The report came after several consultations and interviews with elected officials, senior management, front-line management focus groups and community members.

While the report detailed several opportunities, KPMG Senior Director Suk Bedi said advancing Chatham-Kent’s asset management program, repurposing or consolidating facilities, and implementing a “citizen-centric” approach to service would have the most impact.

With 341 municipal buildings in Chatham-Kent, he said council could consider their use and determine what’s sustainable while balancing in-person services with online ones.

During the meeting, Councillor Anthony Ceccacci raised the issue that if the municipality were to close a few of its facilities, it wouldn’t make much of a difference due to the rising cost of inflation rates.

“For us to improve as a community, we need more funds,” said Ceccacci. “As a council, we’re going to have to make some challenging decisions because I think the only way we can address this without funding is to continue to invest in our growth.”

Councillor Steve Pinsonneault followed this up by saying he didn’t think there was a political appetite to start closing everything up.

“While things are good, let’s keep pushing that as much as we can,” said Pinsonneault.

Agreeing with Pinsonneault, Councillor Mary Clare Latimer said growth was something the municipality should focus on.

Chatham-Kent CAO Don Shropshire said municipal staff is ready to look into the issues, but added that it will be up to city councillors on how to proceed.

“I think we need some direction from council to see what there’s a political appetite for,” said Chatham-Kent CAO Don Shropshire. “A lot of these can lead to efficiencies and cost savings, sometimes there’s a consequence in terms of service delivery or an impact on our community.”

City councillors accepted Monday’s report for information purposes.

A report on the municipality’s growth strategy is expected at the next municipal meeting on November 29.