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TABLE OF CONTENTS

REPORTS OF THE STANDING COMMITTEES

AND OTHER COMMITTEES

As Considered by

The Council of the City of Toronto

on November 25, 26 and 27, 1998

STRATEGIC POLICIES AND PRIORITIES COMMITTEE

REPORT No. 23

1Service Level Harmonization



City of Toronto

REPORT No. 23

OF THE STRATEGIC POLICIES AND PRIORITIES COMMITTEE

(from its meeting on September 24, 1998,

submitted by Mayor Mel Lastman , Chair)

As Considered by

The Council of the City of Toronto

on November 25, 26 and 27, 1998

1

Service Level Harmonization

(City Council on November 25, 26 and 27, 1998, amended this Clause by adding thereto the following:

"It is further recommended that:

(1)all reports on harmonization be first submitted to the Community Councils for comment, prior to consideration of such reports by Standing Committees; and

(2)comments from Community Councils be included in the reports to Standing Committees.")

(City Council on October 28, 29 and 30, 1998, deferred consideration of this Clause to the next regular meeting of City Council to be held on November 25, 1998.)

--------

(Clause No. 2 of Report No. 20 of The Strategic Policies and Priorities Committee)

(City Council on October 1 and 2, 1998, deferred consideration of this Clause to the next regular meeting of Council to be held on October 28, 1998.)

--------

(Clause No. 18 of Report No. 18 of The Strategic Policies and Priorities Committee)

The Strategic Policies and Priorities Committee recommends the adoption of the report (September 18, 1998) from the Chief Administrative Officer:

Purpose:

The purpose of this report is to update the Strategic Policies and Priorities Committee on the status and results of the analysis and review process for service level harmonization.

Financial Implications and Impact Statement:

Harmonization of service levels will result in financial impact for some programs; the analysis of the range of impacts is still under development by departments and will be reported separately as part of the 1999 budget process.

Recommendations:

It is recommended that:

(1)the appropriate Standing Committee review service level variations including an option of harmonization with no budgetary impact; and

(2)the input from the Standing Committees be used by departments for preparation of the 1998 budget estimates.

Council Reference:

At its meeting of June 3, 4, and 5, 1998, Council approved the Chief Administrative Officer's report on the harmonization of service levels.

This report outlines the analysis and process undertaken to date by departments for service level harmonization for 1999 and future action.

Comments:

Background:

In the 1998 approved budget, the status quo was maintained in relation to service levels and user fees for the various programs and services offered to the public. As a successor municipality, the City continues to provide the services its residents have become accustomed to, while trying to rationalize and harmonize them from the perspective of the unified City. Examples of amalgamating services that need to be considered for rationalization include: parks and recreation services; garbage pickup and recycling; road cleaning and snow removal; library services; and health services.

Current Situation:

During 1998, amalgamating departments whose programs and services have been restructured are to review and assess their respective programs for the harmonization of services and user fees in some cases. This exercise will be a multi-year undertaking and priorities will have to be established for the sequencing of programs to be reviewed.

Overview of Issues:

The harmonization of services, service levels, and user fees have different aspects and a variety of processes have been initiated with departments based on the specific circumstances. These initiatives within the departments fall into the following major categories:

(a)Reviewing harmonization of user fees for recreational programs is to be carried out through a public consultation process approved by the User Fee Committee established by Council. User fees and transaction fees in all other areas (e.g., issue of birth/death/marriage certificates) will be reviewed as part of the 1999 budget process;

(b)Reviewing availability and proximity of city facilities which may result in capital spending will be addressed through the City's capital works programs in 1999 and beyond;

(c)Operational Programs: Key programs and services which have been already identified as harmonization candidates, and which may have a major financial or service impact, are the basis for this report. Harmonization of other programs and services which will not have a material financial impact will be dealt with through the normal 1999 budget process.

Programs to be Considered:

Using the guidelines provided by the Chief Administrative Officer, the Senior Management Team, has identified the following programs and services having significant variations across the City and where harmonization could have significant financial impact:

(a)Garbage Pickup: the frequency of residential garbage collection in North York is twice per week for about 100,000 residences all year round; in the former City of Toronto, garbage collection is twice per week to approximately 50,000 residences during the period June 22 to August 28; in all other parts of the City, the garbage is picked up once every week. Variations also exist in relation to pick up of commercial and industrial waste.

(b)Winter Maintenance Activities: windrow clearance service is currently provided in North York and Scarborough; similarly, all sidewalks are cleared of snow during winter in North York.

(c)Public Health Services: several of the services in this area have newly mandated standards under the Health Promotion and Protection Act. Others are discretionary or vary from area to area. For clarity the department is classifying the program in three ways. Service Rationalization Projects, such as centralization of communicable disease control notification; sexually transmitted diseases case management, site rationalization study, unified client intake system, animal services information system; Council/Board directed projects, such as animal services, dental services, grants for AIDS prevention, grants for drug abuse prevention program, harmonized ETS by-law; and responses to homelessness and environmental issues; and Disease Prevention/Health Protection Projects, such as tuberculosis control, needle exchange and food safety.

(d)Library Services: Sunday services are currently provided at 19 libraries in East York, Toronto, North York and Etobicoke. Extending Sunday services to Scarborough and York is a consideration. A strategy will also be considered for a more equitable allocation of library materials at the library's ninety-eight branches located throughout the City.

In addition to the above programs and services identified on a priority basis, other more minor variations in programs and services will be considered for harmonization as part of the 1999 budget process.

Process For Harmonization of Service Levels:

The Chief Administrative Officer provided department heads with guidelines for service level harmonization and requested departments to conduct an assessment pertaining to analysis of variations in existing service levels between former municipalities; financial analysis relating to the total cost of service; cost implications of setting service standards at the highest, median and lowest levels; opportunities for cost reduction and potential savings; and special considerations ie. legal commitments, equipment availability, and capital expenditures.

In particular, departments will address the following key questions when reporting to their respective Standing Committees:

(a)What are the existing variations in service levels and the total and unit cost of delivering the services?

(b)What are the plans for the recommended service level as a result of the consolidation of the seven jurisdictions?

(c)What unique needs and neighborhood characteristics should be taken into consideration that may result in variations in the proposed service levels?

(d)What is the total cost for the proposed service level, the cost per unit and the net impact on the 1999 operating and capital budget?

(e)What are the key issues or challenges to be addressed?

To ensure consistency across the City for the harmonization of services, departments will also take into consideration the following key factors: compliance with legislated requirements and Council priorities; accessibility strategies; responsiveness to community needs; impact on other programs; detailed service cost analysis; analysis of demographic and geographic variables; and, potential impact on low income groups.

Approval Process:

The Chief Administrative Officer has requested the commissioners to brief the respective Standing Committees during October 1998 on the analysis and options for the harmonization of service levels. The departments will prepare the 1999 program budget submission after taking into consideration input from the Standing Committees towards the preparation of the 1999 preliminary budget. The Chief Administrative Officer will report on the financial impact of service level harmonization and the preliminary estimates to the Strategic Policies and Priorities Committee as part of the budget overview, priorities and corporate pressures.

As part of the 1999 budget process, the Budget Committee will review the proposed 1999 budgets and planned service levels in the context of corporate budget pressures, pre-set expenditure targets, and competing or emerging priorities, and make a balanced assessment of the level of funding to be recommended. The recommendations of the Budget Committee will be forwarded to Strategic Policies and Priorities Committee, and then to Council for consideration as part of the overall 1999 budget process.

In the final analysis, Council will have to assess the competing demands of different programs, historic differences among former municipalities, unique neighborhood characteristics, special considerations, downloading of programs by the Province, mandatory programs, City wide priorities, and corporate budget pressures.

Conclusion:

This report identifies those services that have the most significant variation in service levels. It proposes that these variations be discussed at the appropriate Standing Committee and their recommendation be used as input to the departmental budget preparation.

Contact Name:

Firoz Kara, 392-8678.

Respectfully submitted,

MEL LASTMAN,

Chair

Toronto, September 24, 1998

(Report No. 23 of The Strategic Policies and Priorities Committee was adopted, as amended, by City Council on November 25, 26 and 27, 1998.)

 

   
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