Saturday, December 08, 2007

Ontario Municipal CAO's Benchmarking Initiative

The Ontario Municipal CAO's Benchmarking Initiative Report for 2006 was released on the 4th of December. A timely release for this report as Windsor continues it's budget deliberations. Lot's to digest in this report.
Through OMBI and other initiatives, our municipalities provide comparable data to allow municipalities to make informed decisions on service quality, quantity and cost. This is known as “benchmarking” and enables our service teams to collaborate and share information on various ways of conducting municipal services, making the best use of valuable resources and producing the best possible outcomes. We have focused on services that municipalities have in common, while recognizing the unique characteristics related to each community’s socio-demographics, geographic location, population density, size and other influencing factors. The benefits of these comparisons are to provide enhanced information for decision making, identification of innovative ideas for service improvement and ultimately better service to our citizens.
The report benchmarks 16 different areas of Municipal government. For today I'm going to focus on just the Library portion, as that is certainly front and centre in Windsor's budget discussions right now.

Edit: Sudbury and Peel are two out of the fifteen municipalities who have posted this on their Municipal websites and issued Press Releases related to the report.

Related Article:
Library Workers face deep cuts
"Every year they seem to come back and say, 'You have to cut more out of the budget, but you can't cut services,'" Fish said. "It's unrealistic to keep coming back to tell the library to get its act together, when we're already one of the most efficient libraries in the province."
(click on individual pictures for full size graphic)

4.1 - How many hours are all library branches open? - Windsor is at the Provincial median for 2006

4.2. - How many holding do libraries have? - Windsor is slightly below the Provincial median for holdings per capita

4.3 - How many times is each item borrowed from library (turnover)? - Windsor is well below the Provincial median for this category.

4.4 - How many times were libraries used? - Windsor is again well below the median in this category.

4.5 - How much does it cost for each library use? - Windsor is second in the Province in this category.

My read on these benchmarks has Windsor providing the same hours and holdings as most of the Province but with a lower turnover and usage rate, delivered at a higher cost. If someone else can provide a different interpretation, I'm open to it.

What this tells me is that Councillor Brister is right. Savings can be had in our Library system without closing branches. Some reductions in hours may help in bringing our costs in line. Although I don't have the data to back it up, I suspect much of Windsor's current woes are related to the opening of the Fontain Bleu branch.