City officials in Fredericton want to meet with executives from the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies before providing details for the Halifax-based think-tank’s municipal report card.
The report is meant to give citizens of municipalities across the province a comparison of services quality, municipal taxes and municipal budgets.
City spokesman Wayne Knorr said that the city received a three-page survey in December. The questionnaire covered questions on the city’s data collection methods, use of standards and benchmarks for quality and efficiency.
“We didn’t fill out the survey, but we’ve invited them to come and meet with us and talk about that whole quality management system and to understand how we do what we do now and the benchmarks we use,” Knorr said.
“We have every intention of meeting with them to talk about our quality management system, our 150 services and how we benchmark what we do now.”
Charles Cirtwill of the institute said he hopes to do so at some point in the next two weeks.
“Every municipality likes to tell the story that they are different,” he said.
“For our purposes, it’s very important to hear that story so you can then make adjustments for the factors that they think make them different.
“If you can show those things, you can make the apples-to-apples comparison.”
Much of the data the group plans to use is publicly available. For example, details from municipal budgets, from annual reports and statistical information the provincial government compiles.
Cirtwill said the group plans to compare all cities, towns and villages in the province .
“One thing of course is the LSDs, we’re still trying to figure out what we can do that would offer any value to taxpayers. We’re hoping to have something on them but are not entirely sure what that will be.
“Are there consistencies across size or type of municipal units? That may then inform a discussion around structural changes needed to support those kinds of adjustments,” Cirtwill said.
They hope to have the final report ready by June so it might benefit a provincial report on the state of municipal and local government.
An interim report card is expected out in April, ahead of municipal elections being held across the province.