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Finding better ways: Regina moves toward efficiency review of city services

Regina Mayor Sandra Masters brought a motion to council's executive committee Wednesday seeking approval to proceed toward an efficiency review of city services. Pool cam / CTV

UPDATE: In a 10-1 vote on Feb. 24, Regina council approved proceeding with the efficiency review. Coun. Dan LeBlanc remained opposed. 

 

Regina’s mayor is closer to delivering on a campaign promise of creating savings for the city through operational efficiencies.

Council’s executive committee voted in favour of a motion to establish a multi-phased Efficiency Review Program during its Feb. 17 meeting in Henry Baker Hall.

During a break from the proceedings, Masters told reporters the idea is to “save people’s time and free up time for better service provision or other program opportunities.”

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The current mayor committed to finding 15-per cent savings through operational efficiencies while vying for office last fall. At the time, former mayor, Michael Fougere, purported that would ultimately mean cuts.

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Masters disputed the sentiment then — and again in the council chambers Feb. 17 when her colleague, Ward 6 Coun. Dan LeBlanc, said he couldn’t support her motion for same reason.

“To me, this is the first step down a path to reducing service levels at a time when people are hurting,” LeBlanc said during the meeting.

Click to play video: 'Regina mayoral candidates square off on details of campaign promise' Regina mayoral candidates square off on details of campaign promise
Regina mayoral candidates square off on details of campaign promise – Oct 23, 2020

Masters reiterated: “It is very much the intention to do more with the same.”

During and after discussion of her motion, she said the goal is to determine (and celebrate) what the city does well, create where confusion exists and make improvements where required.

“Fifteen per cent in terms of savings actually applies to time, applies to resources being allocated,” she told reporters. “I actually think it’s doable.”

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City manager Chris Holden noted there is an internal team in place that is on the lookout for efficiencies. The administrative report related to the motion highlights $20 million in cost savings over the past four years.

Holden told council’s executive committee that proceeding with the Efficiency Review Program, which includes hiring a third-party consultant at a cost of up to $250,000 and establishing a recovery and efficiency task force, would “take it to the next level.”

Once in place, staff would work with the consultant to identify six to eight city services to look at and with the task force to figure out how to reinvest realized savings.

 

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