The province has opened a second intake of the Municipal Service Delivery Improvement Program and the city of Dauphin is ready to take part.
The program, which provides funding for municipalities and planning districts to find ways to improve services and find efficiencies was piloted last year, however, the timing was not right for the Dauphin to take part, city manager Sharla Griffiths said.
At the time of the program launch the city had some key positions open and some personnel who had only been on the job a short time.
“I think this is a far better time for us to take a look at this program. With staff members being present in senior management and throughout our organization, as well as coming out of the pandemic, our operations are a lot more representative of normal operations right now,” Griffiths said. “Last time this came around we had holes or very new staff, in terms of public works. (Director of Public Works and Operations) Mike VanAlstyne was very new. He was only with us for three months at the time and we thought it would be quite unfair to take a big review of that department when he hadn’t even had a chance to really get to know the department.”
By participating in the program municipalities and planning districts can apply for provincial funding to conduct service delivery reviews to identify opportunities for savings.
Delivery programs in the areas of transportation, protection, water and sewer, recreation and culture, waste management, planning and general government administration and other core services can be reviewed.
“Senior management is looking at the options and we’ll be talking about it with council at a planning and priorities committee meeting,” Griffiths said. “It’s a program that the province is funding and a consultant will be hired and paired with us who will look at the processes and the financial structure of different departments, or whatever department we asked them to look at, and we’ll review it for efficiencies and see if there’s a better or easier or more efficient ways we can do things.”
Potential savings from these initiatives will stay with the municipality and can be reallocated to other priorities in the community.
“We’re looking at something that it will be worthwhile, maybe a bigger budget line item, but we’re not sure exactly which one yet,” Griffiths said, adding she feels the City is already very efficient in its operations. “There’s always room for improvement and it’s great to have another set of eyes looking at things, to see if we can do something differently.”
In March 2021, the Manitoba government committed up to $5 million over four years to support the program.
Last year, the first intake resulted in 11 successful projects receiving more than $1.1 million.
The deadline to apply for the second intake is Sept. 5.