Bruce County approves three more years for Municipal Innovation Council

·2 min read

BRUCE COUNTY – Bruce County council’s executive committee has approved extending the memorandum of understanding with the Municipal Innovation Council (MIC) until Dec. 31, 2025 – a three-year extension.

The cost for the county will be $50,000 per year, for a total of $150,000.

The MIC was established in 2020 when eight municipalities in the county came together to find savings and efficiencies, as well as ways to better deliver services.

The first 18 months consisted of identifying areas of focus and identifying common problems. As areas of interest were identified, a number of pilot projects were launched, and MIC began securing external funding sources, and has been extremely successful in doing so.

Among the project highlights are the Smart Beach project, Mapping our Future, the waste management and information technology service reviews, attainable housing support, and training opportunities and outreach.

According to the report presented to the committee, “MIC is just starting to reach its stride … after dealing with COVID for two years.” The report went on to say that “the MIC is seeing traction on several projects.”

By working together, and thanks to MIC’s success in securing outside funding, several initiatives have been accomplished that Bruce County could not have done independently, according to the report.

“For every dollar the county spent, it leveraged $8 from the MIC partnership, in addition to the future savings that will be realized from this work,” states the report.

The recommendation from staff was to continue in the partnership.

County Coun. Luke Charbonneau, Saugeen Shores, said the MIC has done “really good work … lots of positive work, with even more to be done.” He said he’d like to reach out to Grey and Huron counties, to “take this project as far as possible.”

County Coun. Steve Hammell, Arran Elderslie, said he had “mixed feelings” about the MIC. He expressed the hope that the waste management study “doesn’t sit on a shelf.”

There were no mixed feelings expressed by County Coun. Chris Peabody, Brockton.

“I don’t like it when groups line up for money before budget,” he said.

Peabody also didn’t like the fact that the extension would commit a future council for three years.

Warden Janice Jackson, South Bruce Peninsula, said she agreed; she would be able to support it if it were for one year, something Peabody said he’d be open to.

Matthew Meade, the county’s strategic initiatives specialist, explained that the three-year term of the MOU was to provide stability for staffing and programming.

When the matter was put to the vote, only Peabody and Jackson voted against the recommendation.

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

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