Brockton tables motion on Municipal Innovation Council extension

·3 min read

BROCKTON – Becky Smith, director of the Centre for Municipal Innovation, made a presentation to council at the July 12 meeting asking for a three-year extension on Brockton’s participation in the Municipal Innovation Council (MIC).

The MIC was established in 2020 when eight municipalities in Bruce County came together to find savings, efficiencies and deliver services better to their residents — all with the goal of building smarter, stronger, more resilient communities.

MIC has had a number of successes, one of which is the Smart Beach project in Kincardine, the first project of its kind in North America. Its benefits go beyond communities on the coast – and the fact that Brockton residents are among the top 10 users of the beach in Kincardine. Smith noted that Dr. Chris Houser has also been working on matters of water quality with Lake Rosalind property owners.

The GIS project has generated substantial savings for each member municipality.

In addition, two service reviews have been completed, one on IT and the other on waste management, at no cost to MIC members. The IT service review identified savings of $585,000. This includes between $8,000 and $36,000 per year for Brockton in hardware and software.

Smith said people around the world are taking note of what MIC is doing.

Brockton would be paying just over $22,000 annually to continue on the council.

Coun. Steve Adams asked a question that’s been asked at other MIC council presentations – what happens if a couple of members decide not to continue for another three years.

Smith said four have already approved the extension, and there have been suggestions MIC look at “reaching out to Grey and Huron counties.” She said if some partners back out, the matter would be brought back to MIC.

Coun. James Lang said his primary interest was in the waste management service review, especially incineration. He noted there doesn’t seem to be a lot of follow-through with what’s been discussed.

Mayor Chris Peabody commented that when Owen Sound “is trucking waste to Detroit and it costs $8 to drop off a bag of garbage … it’s an incentive for an incinerator.”

Following Smith’s presentation, staff presented a report on MIC, in response to which Adams said he hadn’t “seen a lot of tangibles” in the three years MIC has been operating. And the demand on staff time is substantial.

“We’re going to have to be prudent about continuing another three years,” said Adams.

Trish Serratore, chief financial officer, said Brockton is already seeing some results with IT.

CAO Sonya Watson spoke of staff benefitting from training received through MIC.

For Peabody, the timing of the request for the extension was a problem.

“I generally don’t like passing budget items in July,” he said.

Others expressed concern about committing the next council to a three-year expense. However, Lang said, “I don’t want to see our municipality miss out on something … once the ball gets rolling.”

He suggested tabling the matter to get information on whether a two-year commitment was a possibility, instead of three. The motion carried.

Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times

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