Prince George council starts core review process
Tuesday night Mayor Shari Green introduced the team of specialists who have begun the city’s core review during a public meeting in council chambers.
City staff and some council members joined a bout a dozen residents, with technical problems preventing Internet coverage.
Alistair Nimmons with KPMG presented an overview of the project’s objectives and approach. He said the process is actually three parts and includes the core services review, a look into service efficiency and an analysis of the revenue side of city business, including a look into what lands and properties it owns and whether or not it would serve the city better to sell some of them.
The approach will be five part. The initial step, one already in progress, includes introducing the team to the select committee and the worker’s groups from city staff who are taking part. Then they will gather information on the services at the city, the way departments are organized as well as revenue streams. Services will be looked at and analysed. They will identify opportunities to be more efficient and then provide recommendations to council based on those opportunities.
The process started Apr. 25 and the completed report, along with recommendations, will presented on Oct. 26.
Brian Bourns, also with KPMG, spoke about the community engagement component of the process, something council discussed at length during several meetings. It was one of the items the select committee, headed by the mayor, took back to KPMG before signing a contract with the company, intent on ensuring the public engagement component was extensive.
“The engagement strategy is starting tonight,” he said, adding the purpose of the meeting was to advise the public and city staff about the review, how people might be involved and find out what people think they should take a closer look at.
He said they will have a description of services in place by the end of June which will include costs, the rationale behind what services are provided in the way they are provided, the legislative framework governing the city and the service levels which have been set, comparing them to other similar cities as well as industry norms.
The results will be posted on the city website, giving interested members of the public time to mull them over before a series of workshops, set to take place in July, occur. At the workshops people will be invited to discuss the findings and give input identifying possible changes. There will also be an online survey for comments and feedback.
Then they will spend July and August sorting through the ideas presented, choose those that make sense and are worth doing while sifting through those which do more harm than good.
The results will go on-line, then in mid-September more workshops will offer a chance for more feedback.
Simultaneously, KPMG will be going through a very similar process will city staff following the same time period.
The results will be reflected in a report to council in October.
One of the handful of members of the general public who attended brought up the road repair issue, asking how deep the core review’s analysis will go and whether or not it will include bringing in an expert.
Bourns explained the core review approach must look at everything, not focus only on road repair. However they will look into whether or not there is any discrepancy between the service level that has been set and what is actually being accomplished. They will look at other similar cities and compare what is being spent there on roads in comparison to Prince George, and they will meet with the staff and public who have the opportunity to identify road repair as a real problem. The recommendations given to council, as part of the report, may be very specific.
Many times they can suggest a way to re-engineer the way things are being done.
Besides the workshops the public can submit comments and suggestions regarding aspects of the core review by contacting the mayor or e-mailing KPMG at CPGCSR@kpmg.ca.