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. 

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:

  • review of fleet downtime
  • review of city facility energy usage  

A summary of each report’s findings and links to the complete report 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.