Through the Audit and Accountability Fund, the Ontario government has offered funding to large municipalities to conduct service delivery and administrative expenditure reviews to find efficiencies while protecting important front-line services. Funding recipients used the funding to hire an independent third-party reviewer to review municipal service delivery expenditures in order to find efficiencies. The third-party reviewer was required to submit a final report which outlined their analysis, findings and actionable recommendations.

To date the Province of Ontario has administered three rounds of funding.

In Round 1 (2019), the City of Kitchener received $220,000 in funding from the Province of Ontario as part of this initiative. This funding was used to complete two separate reviews which would have not been possible otherwise. The two reviews are:

In Round 2 (2021), the City of Kitchener received $375,000 in funding which was used to complete three separate reviews including:

In Round 3 (2022), the City of Kitchener received $91,117 in funding which was used to complete a review of service modernization for the Kitchener Market.

A summary of each report’s findings and links to the complete reports can be found below. The views expressed within these reports represent the views of the author and do not represent the views of either the Province of Ontario or the City of Kitchener.

Fleet downtime

Several divisions rely on the City’s fleet of vehicles and equipment in their daily work, including Roads and Traffic, Parks and Cemeteries, Gas and Water, Sanitary and Stormwater and Facilities Management. If a vehicle or piece of equipment is out of service for repair or maintenance, it impacts the efficiency of service in these areas. 

The objective of the fleet review was to examine the Fleet division repair and maintenance processes, the impacts of operational utilization/planning, materials supply through the Procurement division, administrative processes and facility requirements. All of these factors impact downtime and prioritization of fleet response. The goal is to minimize the time vehicles or equipment are out of service, leading to more efficient front line services and added staff capacity in Fleet.

Summary of estimated benefits

Leading Edge Group was contracted to conduct a Lean process review of Fleet maintenance and repair processes. Their report is included below. 

The American Public Works Association (APWA) identifies fleet availability and uptime as a key measure of the success of a fleet management program with a generally accepted benchmark of 95 per cent or better. The City of Kitchener’s current state uptime is an average availability of 96.46 per cent, resulting in an average downtime of 3.54 per cent. With a current purchase value of the City fleet of $53,727,610 this downtime results in $1,901,950 in fleet asset value being out of service at any given time.

If the recommendations within the report are implemented there is an estimated 10 per cent improvement in downtime which translates into an increase in fleet asset value availability of $190,195 daily and annual productivity savings of 3,792 hours.

Next steps

Numerous recommendations are already being implemented as referenced in Appendix 3 of the report. The remaining recommendations will be prioritized by management for implementation over the long-term. Many of these will require coordination and effort from multiple areas of the City. Some recommendations include further process and policy reviews that require significant coordination to implement.

City facility utility costs

The City of Kitchener’s operations consume a significant amount of energy. In 2018, the city spent $9.4M in energy consumption costs on electricity, natural gas, diesel, gasoline, propane, water and sanitary.

The City of Kitchener facilities have a combined footprint of 1,832,788 square feet. The City has both traditional and innovative heating, venting and cooling (HVAC) and water systems, including geothermal, solar, and rainwater harvesting. The scale of the City’s operations presents a significant opportunity to reduce municipal operating expenses and carbon emissions through replacements, retrofits and upgrades that promote conservation, efficiency and innovation.

The objective of the City facility utility costs review was to provide a comprehensive, in-depth American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) level II audit across 35 facilities, including both administrative and community-based facilities, to reduce energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions through conservation, efficiency and innovation measures with a focus on projects that have a payback period of less than 10 years.

Summary of estimated benefits

Walter Fedy was contracted to complete ASHRAE level II Energy Audits at 35 City of Kitchener facilities. If the recommendations are implemented at a total capital cost of $22.9M, it is estimated that the following savings could be achieved:

  • annual electricity savings: 10,792,593 kWh
  • annual natural gas savings: 1,394,076 m3
  • annual water savings: 62,426 m3
  • utility cost savings: $2,385,688
  • eCO2 savings: 3,18 tonnes
Next steps

Staff will review the recommendations, including the “top project” list which highlights a subset of the recommendations which meet at least two of the following criteria:

  • simple payback is less than 12 years
  • utility savings are greater than $1,000
  • greenhouse gas reduction is greater than 5 tonnes

An implementation plan will then be created which is dependent on the level of Corporate Climate Action Plan and/or facilities management funding that is approved by Council during budget deliberations.

Development review

Kitchener is growing quickly, and the development services department plays a vital role in how our community develops today and in the future. The modernization of the development review process was chosen to supplement the City’s existing development services review which has been ongoing since 2019.  The purpose of the development services review was to look at how development functions interact and are coordinated, and to identify whether that coordination can be improved in a way that results in clearer accountability, stronger collaboration, and ultimately an even better customer experience.

The City has undergone multiple Lean reviews aimed at streamlining the site plan approval processes and improving public engagement around development processes. The implementation of BlueBeam software was the result of one of these improvement reviews. The City is also in the process of upgrading to AMANDA 7 software. The objective of this development review was to review and recommend a complete and integrated digital transformation solution for development approvals that eliminates paper-based processes by leveraging the functionality of the new AMANDA 7 software.

Summary of estimated benefits

KPMG was contracted to conduct a review of the development review process to identify opportunities for process modernization and implementation of a fully digital transformation solution. Their report is included below. 

The overall project objectives were to:

  • Identify opportunities to achieve an end-to-end integrated and digital transformation solution for the development review process.
  • Identify opportunities to eliminate process inefficiencies.
  • Identify opportunities to seamlessly integrate AMANDA 7 into the existing development review process.
  • Realize quick wins from existing tools and capabilities implemented as a result of the 2019 review undertaken by the City
  • Utilize lean six sigma methodology to uncover additional process inefficiencies and areas of improvement.
  • Identify qualified vendors for recommendations that are beyond the capabilities of existing software within the City.

The project analyzed the City’s development review process utilizing KPMG’s Target Operating Model framework. The framework is used to review the process through 6 lenses: service delivery model, process, data and analytics, technology, people, and governance. To achieve the desired future state, KPMG identified 24 recommendations and developed a high-level implementation plan for the City. The implementation of the recommendations will increase the City’s development service digital maturity to achieve the City’s shared vision efficiently and effectively.

If the recommendations within the report are implemented there is an estimated time savings of 535 hours per year of staff time and an estimated cost savings of $825,000 per year.  

Next steps

Staff will review the recommendations and the implementation roadmap, including the “quick wins” list which highlights a subset of the recommendations which require low effort to implement but will result in a high impact. Any feasible automation opportunities will be assessed relative to existing budgets and may require Council approval for additional funding.

To download a copy of the development review final report, please send us an email.

Aggregates management

Each year, the City of Kitchener generates over 50,000 metric tons of surplus aggregate material in the course of service delivery including but not limited to those involving watermain breaks, infrastructure repair and maintenance. The material is then reused, recycled or dispatched to an approved facility for treatment.

New aggregate material is purchased and inventoried to supplement the reused and recycled aggregates. Through the current processes, aggregates are not being ascribed precisely to the work order, which has lead to an inaccurate inventory of materials, and an inability to properly track costs both internally and for user pay activities. Internal Audit has recommended improvements in this area but with no project manager in place coupled with a lack of resources, this project had not gained traction.

The objective of the aggregates management review is to examine the existing aggregate handling processes, including inventory management, and determine requirements to improve efficiency and enhance tracking of materials through more integrated use of the weigh scale or other means of quantification of material. 

Summary of estimated benefits

Leading Edge Group was contracted to conduct a Lean review of the aggregate management process. Their report is included below. 

As noted by Leading Edge Group, “key recommendations include establishing a set of standard weights to be used by staff in obtaining estimates of aggregate weights that would be within acceptable tolerance limits. The inventory management process would also be simplified by taking low volume and/or single user aggregates out of inventory and charging them to an appropriate cost centre upon purchase.”

Expected benefits from implementing the recommendations include:

  • Reduced manual data entry and paperwork tracking, with estimated annual productivity savings of 310 staff hours or $15,500
  • Improved staff efficiency across four (4) internal divisions including: Administrative, Operations, Utilities and Procurement
  • Improved data capture, compliance and accuracy
  • Improved fiscal management
Next steps

The recommendations will be prioritized by the cross functional steering team for implementation. Many of these will require coordination and effort from multiple areas of the City.

Review of fire and police communications and dispatch in Waterloo Region

$225,000 in funding was received which was used to complete a joint project involving the Region of Waterloo, Waterloo Regional Police Service, City of Kitchener, City of Waterloo, City of Cambridge, Woolwich Township, Wellesley Township, Wilmot Township, and North Dumfries Township.

The City of Kitchener and Waterloo Regional Police Service share responsibility for fire and police emergency communications/dispatch in Waterloo Region. The agencies have made service improvements in recent years including the use of a common Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system between fire and police. This review built on these improvements by exploring and analyzing options on future provision of these services. The review was to make recommendations as to the most effective, efficient and appropriate dispatch service delivery model for fire and police, including identifying short, medium and long-term next steps.

Summary of estimated benefits

The review recommends a consolidated emergency services communication model because it offers the greatest potential for cost savings, makes best use of resources, and strategically positions the region and the municipalities to provide service to other municipalities and entities. If implemented, estimated annual cost savings of $1.2M could be achieved, assuming staff scheduling based on call volumes and not static schedules as is done now. Capital investment in the order of $1.1M for technology and $35M for a new facility would be required and significant preparation would be required to build a new communication centre.

Additional key findings of the review are: fire and police communications partners in Waterloo Region have acted on previous recommendations for technological change resulting in a shared technology platform; and of 5 operational models assessed including the status quo, none would decrease nor provide a measurable advantage in terms of public safety or first responder safety.

Next steps

Staff of both agencies will conduct a thorough review and analysis of the report’s key findings and recommendations. No decisions have been made about the recommendation at this point and no change in the communications model is planned at this time.

To download a copy of the fire and police communications and dispatch in Waterloo Region final report, please send us an email.

Kitchener Market service modernization

The City of Kitchener Market (the Market) is one of the oldest operating markets in Canada. The Market provides numerous services including client-run programs and market-driven events such as cooking classes, workshops, special events and more. Additionally, the Market offers daily food court vendors and a weekly “Farmers Market” is held every Saturday.

Current vendor on-boarding, contracting and event management processes are not optimal, resulting in redundant steps or waste for both staff and customers. Such inefficiencies result in lost opportunities for the City and mistrust with vendors and partners.  The goal is to streamline and digitize key processes which will reduce administrative burdens and save time and money, achieving quicker turnaround times and faster customer service delivery for the public, vendors, and partners. By improving and modernizing administrative processes, the aim is to increase capacity among staff members so that they can have more time to focus on delivering the key strategic goals and objectives for the Market.

Summary of estimated benefits

Leading Edge Group was contracted to conduct a Lean process review of four Market processes:

  1. Saturday market vendor contracts and City-vendor transactions
  2. In-house, staff-led programs (e.g., classes, festivals, etc.)
  3. Third-party event and rental contracts
  4. Management of community-driven and partnered programming and stakeholder relationships on-site

If implemented the expected benefits of the recommendations include:

  • 400-500 hours of staff time saved annually
  • 8-week reduction in lead time for on-boarding new vendors
  • More efficient and easy to follow processes
  • Transparency for internal partners
Next steps

Some of the recommendations are already complete or in process as referenced in the Implementation section of the report. The remaining recommendations will be prioritized by management for implementation throughout 2023.