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Oliver completes core service review

Oliver Mayor Ron Hovanes is pleased with the report from a core services review that recommended the elimination of one staff position but otherwise gave the town a passing grade.

“It was a nice report card,” Hovanes said.

The town on Wednesday released a copy of the review, conducted by Burnaby-based Dugal Smith and Associates, which concluded that “Oliver is a well managed municipality with excellent financial performance.”

It noted the municipality has “low costs and low staffing” because many services are contracted out, so the review focused mainly on “relatively minor issues.”

The review compared Oliver to seven other similar-sized B.C. municipalities and found Oliver had the lowest operating cost among the group at $1,020 per capita.

“We feel as a council that it was a very balanced, arm’s-length report,” Hovanes said.

The review produced 47 recommendations, 13 of which the town will implement within six months and another nine it will bring in within two years, according to an action plan released along with the report.

Most notably in the short-term, one of town hall’s three clerks will be laid off effective Jan. 1.

A union representative did not respond to a request for comment, but Hovanes said he thought the town’s labour leaders “accepted the report very well” at a briefing Wednesday. He noted too that unionized utility operators will benefit from extra training they will receive as the town ramps up its succession planning in that department.

Other actions to be carried out in the next six months include:

* implementation of a time reporting system for managers and salaried staff;

* sale of surplus mowing equipment;

* hiring of a manager of operations in public works, where one director sometimes oversees up to 19 staff;

* extending town hall operating hours by an hour a day;

* hiring of summer students for routine tasks as permitted in the collective agreement;

* elimination of staff’s earned day off program.

Town council will not proceed with seven recommendations, which include discontinuing snow removal on residential sidewalks, selling advertising to help fund water bill mail-outs and eliminating its sister city programs.

 

The report authors note that adoption of all 47 recommendations would bring the town a “negligible savings of $14,000.”

 

 

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