Editorial: Time to overhaul?

At a recent Committee of the Whole meeting, South Dundas council voiced the need to set up waste management as a separate department from Public Works. Dealing with our waste management issues, including landfills, is critical in South Dundas. This is a logical, and positive, step forward for municipal governance in South Dundas.

And since separating Waste Management from Public Works is being looked at, now might be a good opportunity to examine all municipal departments to ensure the right duties are being handled by the right departments.

For example the Facilities and Recreation department oversees all public parks and facilities. Those facilities include the Morrisburg Arena and Matilda Hall, both of which clearly have recreation uses. But that department also deals with non-recreation buildings like the Service Ontario/Land Registry office. Having any non-recreation facilities managed by a department whose mandate is recreation, does not make sense.

If the move to separate Waste Management from Public Works moves forward, there would be ample room to take certain functions and place under the auspices of the Public Works department. Removing duties like building repair, capital projects, and maintenance from the Recreation department would enable it to focus on its core mandate: provide recreation services for South Dundas. This does not say that any modernization, regardless of the department should include staff increases, or reductions. It only suggests that realigning departments may produce savings and deliver better services to the citizens.

South Dundas received a grant for $600K from the provincial government in March to modernize service delivery. Nearly every rural municipality in Ontario received some money this spring. So far, South Dundas council has discussed using some of the money to assist with implementing its asset management plan. Some of those provincial funds should also go towards actually modernizing and streamlining department structures: that is the intent of those funds.

It should not require a special fund set up by another level of government to prompt a review of how services are delivered. Staying current in how services are provided, including in the structure of the departments that deliver them, should always be evolving.

After several years of ‘haphazard’ growth, a review is well in order.

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